Note: You'll need a bundt pan for this cake.
This wonderful cake is a bit involved, but not at all
hard to make. The very dense, rich white cake boasts
a crust of finely-chopped pecans and conceals a moist
fudge core. It was the first recipe I tried from baking
icon Maida Haetter's Maida
Haetter's Cakes, a source of more than 175 superlative
cakes. I made only a few adjustments to the recipe,
but have condensed Ms. Haetter's excellent detailed
instructions. This cake is sure to win you many compliments.
9 ounces (2 cups) toasted
4 cups sifted all-purpose
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 - 8 ounces semi-sweet
chocolate (e.g., chocolate chips)
3 Tbsp. strong coffee
3 Tbsp. whipping cream
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Amaretto
2 1/4 cups granulated
1 1/4 cups milk
6 - 8 ounces semisweet
2 tsp. solid vegetable
a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and
preheat to 350°. Very generously butter a 10-inch
bundt pan (even if it has a non-stick finish).
break up about 2/3 of the pecans and set them aside.
Chop the remaining pecans finely (or use the pre-chopped
pecans sold in the baking aisle). Pieces should be about
the size of rice. Reserve a few tablespoons of chopped
nuts for garnish.
the finely chopped nuts in the buttered pan, then turn
the pan and shake it to coat it completely with nuts.
Allow the excess nuts to stay in the bottom of the pan.
together flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
the chocolate with the coffee in the top of a double
boiler. (See sidebar for detailed instructions if you've
never used a double boiler.) Remove from heat and whisk
briskly with a small wire whisk until smooth, then whisk
in cream until it is fully incorporated and the mixture
is once again smooth. Set aside.
the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until
soft and smooth, then beat in vanilla and Amaretto (or
almond extract) and sugar and beat for an additional
2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in milk,
then gradually add dry ingredients, beating on low speed.
Note: after adding the milk, and even after adding
dry ingredients, batter will have a curdled appearance.
batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Drag a large
spoon around the center of the batter to form a trench
about 1/2" deep and 1 1/2" wide.
the chocolate mixture into the trench, making sure it
doesn't touch the sides or the tube. Sprinkle all but
a handful (you'll use this for garnish) of the reserved
coarsely broken pecans all over the top of the batter
(they can touch the sides). The fudge trench will sink
while baking and disappear from the surface of the batter.
for 50 minutes, then cover loosely with foil and bake
another 10 - 15 minutes, or until a long wooden skewer
inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
During baking, a big crack will form in the center where
the trench was.
20 minutes. Then cover it with a large, flat plate and
invert and remove bundt pan. If it doesn't come off
on its own, you can re-invert it and very carefully
loosen the cake from the pan with a flexible blade.
Be very careful or the pecan crust will break away from
While the cake is cooling, use the chocolate bowl over
the double boiler to melt the glaze ingredients until
smooth. Pour over the top of the cake, allowing the
glaze to run down the sides unevenly. If it doesn't
drip readily, simply smooth it around toward the edges
and it will run over nicely. Serve at room temperature.