With Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s time to follow through on my promise to share the recipe for this scrumptious chocolate pecan cake. I found the recipe that inspired this cake in Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, a 2013 James Beard award-winner. Last October I met both authors at the LDEI Conference in Charleston, SC. and have been enjoying their book ever since.
The truly exciting part about this cake is the shape. I love that the hearts come together to form a star in the middle! The name of this pan is Queen of Hearts, made by Wilton. Just as a favor to help you find it, the link to purchase this pan is right here: http://www.wilton.com/dimensions-queen-of-hearts-pan/2105-5001.html#q=Queen+of+Hearts&start=6. (You can also find it on Amazon.)
First I sprayed the pan with non-stick baking spray that includes flour in the spray. Instead of mixing the pecans into the batter of the cake, I placed the chopped pecans in the bottom of the pan, carefully filling each of the heart-shaped indentations. Then I gently poured the cake batter on top of the pecans. The nuts baked into the cake and produced those gorgeous nutty hearts!
This cake includes melted chocolate chips, so the flavor will depend on the quality of the chocolate chips that you choose. I used semi-sweet chips, but you could melt 12 ounces of any of the good chocolate that you might have left over from the holidays.
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 12 ounces chocolate chips, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spray a bundt cake pan with baking spray that includes flour, or butter and flower the cake pan.
- Place the chopped pecans in the bottom of the bundt pan.
- Place the softened butter into a large mixing bowl and beat on low speed with electric or stand mixer until soft. Increase the speed and whisk until the butter is fluffy.
- Melt the chocolate chips and let them cool to room temperature.
- Add the sugar ¼ cup at a time, whisking with the mixer until each addition is whipped into the butter.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating each for 1 minute after adding to the butter and sugar.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a small bowl.
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture and ½ cup of milk and mix on medium speed. Repeat with ⅓ flour mixture and ½ cup sugar. Then add the remaining flour and mix.
- Stir in the melted chocolate and the vanilla extract.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt cake pan until ⅔ full. Any leftover batter can be baked in a loaf pan that has been buttered and floured.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
- (A loaf pan will bake in about 30-45 minutes)
- Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully loosen the cake by running a knife around the inside edge of the cake pan.
- Turn the cake upside down to remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
- Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or homemade chocolate sauce.