Spiced Pecan Cake
Coarsely chopped pecans
Packed light brown sugar
Plus 2 tsp vanilla extract
Sifted all-purpose flour
Plus 2 tbsp milk
Grease and flour three 8" round cake pans (1 1/2" deep). Place the pecans
in a large ungreased roasting pan. Roast nuts @ 425 degrees for 10 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Watch, carefully, lower heat, if necessary.
Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Then, mix in 4 tbsp of butter. Add 2 cups roasted pecans to the butter
mixture. Coat them thoroughly. Return mixture to the pan and roast for 10
minutes more, stirring once or twice. Stir in 2 tbsp vanilla extract and
roast 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and set aside. In a large bowl of an
electric mixer, cream 3/4 cup butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on high speed
until very light and fluffy, about 6 to 8 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift
together flour and baking powder. In a third bowl, combine milk and
remaining 2 tsp vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and the milk
mixture, alternately, to the butter, beating on high speed until well
blended and scraping the bowl sides between additions. Stir in the pecans.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites on high speed until frothy, about
30 seconds. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until mixture
holds peaks, about 2 minutes. Gently, fold egg white mixture into the
batter, one third at a time. Spoon batter into prepared cake pans and
spread batter so that it is slightly lower in the center. Bake @ 350
degrees until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about
40 minutes. Let cool 1 minute, then carefully remove from the pans and
place on a wire rack. Cool thoroughly. Glaze. Spread generously with
frosting between layers and on top and sides.