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Spiced Layer Cake with Pecan Icing


Put an exclamation point on your holiday or special occasion table with this luscious layer cake. Fragrant with cinnamon and cloves and topped with a pecan icing, it will disappear quickly.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 8 to 10


  • Spice Cake
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • Pecan Icing
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans


1. Preheat the oven 350°F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with waxed paper and lightly grease the paper.

2. Make the cake: In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, the cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Add to the egg mixture and beat until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour alternately with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Pour the batter in the prepared pans, dividing evenly and smoothing the tops.

4. Bake until the cakes pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Set the cakes in the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and remove the waxed paper. Turn the cakes right side up and cool completely.

5. Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a heavy, medium-size saucepan, mix the cream, sugar, and egg. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. Let cool completely. Makes about 2 cups.

6. To assemble: Trim the top of the cake layers with a long serrated knife, cutting off any raised areas. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Spread a about 3/4 cup of frosting evenly over the layer. Top with the remaining cake layer. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Recipe Notes

• The cake layers can be wrapped well and refrigerated up to 3 days, or frozen up to 3 months.
• Store the cake at cool room temperature until serving time; then loosely cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
• To make your own buttermilk, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minute before using.
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