Chocolate Chunk Pecan Crunch Cake

While staring at my cookbook collection hoping for inspiration to strike, I spied a cookbook on the top shelf that caught my eye. I probably have 100 or so cookbooks, so it’s easy for one to get lost. The one that I pulled down was Chocolate by Nick Malgieri. After looking through it for close to an hour, it is now replete with mini post-its marking all the things I want to try. Actually, it’s more accurate to say all the things I want to try the most. I would be happy to make most any recipe in this book. For today’s endeavor, I chose Chocolate Chunk Pecan Crunch Cake.

Chocolate chunk pecan crunch cake

This is a Bundt cake, so you’ll need a 10″ pan. The recipe recommends that it be buttered and floured. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First, make the pecan crunch. With a rubber spatula, beat 2 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter. Add 1/2 cup of firmly packed light brown sugar. Next, add 2 tablespoons of AP flour, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 3/4 cup of chopped pecans. The mixture should be a crumble. Scatter this evenly on the bottom of the Bundt pan.

For the batter, first mix together the dry ingredients: 3 cups AP flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and sift together. Set aside.

Beat 1 cup (2 sticks) of softened unsalted butter and 1&1/2 cups of sugar until mixed. Add in 3 eggs, one at a time. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Here, the recipe says to add the grated zest of one large orange. I didn’t have an orange, so I tossed in 1/4 teaspoon of orange extract. This was purely a guess since my Google search turned up nothing in the way of an acceptable substitute.

Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/etc. mixture. Next, add 3/4 cup of sour cream. Repeat with 1/3 of the dry ingredients, another 3/4 cup of sour cream, and the remaining 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Once mixed, fold in 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate that has been cut into 1/4″ chunks. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. That is, the batter you don’t eat. This is some seriously good batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 65 to 75 minutes. My cake passed its toothpick test after 60 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes; then, remove the cake from pan to cool completely.

The finished product is an incredible cake. The chocolate, cinnamon, and pecans are in just the right amounts to compliment and not overpower each other. Quinn says that it’s the best homemade cake he’s ever had. I think this one might show up again this fall, maybe for Thanksgiving. But for now, it works just fine. Ice cream is a great summer companion for it.