3 3/4 cup flour (I used organic, whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted, softened butter
2 1/2 cups packed dark-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbs + 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 tsp dark rum
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1. With oven preheating to 325 degrees, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small to medium sized bowl.
2. Beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed in a large bowl until it is pale and fluffy looking (takes 33 to 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, vanilla and rum. Reduce the speed to low. Start to add the dry mixture to this, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat for two minutes on medium to high.
3. Spray the bake pan or pans with vegetable oil cooking spray. I did this as a 2 layer cake. The Divine Ms. M(artha!) recommends this as a 3 layer cake. It’s your choice.
4.My cakes took around 40 minutes to bake. You’ll want to use knitting needles or a sharp knife to poke the middle of the cakes to make sure they are baked. If the knife or needle comes out clean, the cake is baked. If there is any residue, consider a few more minutes.
2 cups packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp sea salt
20 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted1. Melt 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium until golden dark brown. This is called “browning the butter” and adds almost a hazelnut flavor to the butter. The photo on the left of the strip is about 5 minutes into this 10 minute process. The butter solids separate and fall to the bottom of the pan. You need to stir continuously through this. Once the butter is browned, add the brown sugar, cream and salt, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring this to a boil, whisking constantly and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
2. Soften 2 stick of butter and cut into very small pieces. Add this butter, a few pieces at a time, and beat on low until the butter is incorporated into the frosting base. Beat this mixture for 2 minutes. In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar on medium to high until fluffy (2 to 3 minutes). Add the brown butter mixture to the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for two hours until fully chilled.
3. Once the frosting is fully chilled, whip it on low before trying to spread it on the cake.
3 ounces (6 Tbs) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup heavy cream2 cups pecan halves1. Mix the sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cream. Return to heat and cook for an additional 2 minutes.Assemble the Cake
1. Trim the sides of the cake and the top to create spongy, flat surfaces. Brush the Butterscotch Syrup onto all exposed sides of each layer (top and sides). Use 3/4 of the mixture, not all of it.
2. Frost the bottom cake piece, carefully setting down the next layer on top of it.
3. Spread remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake.
Dump the pecans in a sauce pan. Turn heat to medium. Pour the remaining Butterscotch Syrup on the pecans. Constantly stirring, heat for approximately 10 minutes until the syrup is sticky and thick, evenly coating the pecans. Turn pan over and place the pecans directly on the cake or onto wax paper. The Pecans are very sticky and will stick to any surface so choose wisely.
I used whole wheat flour because I was trying to make the cake slightly less sticky sweet. My Dad appreciated the texture (which was sort of like a fine cornbread) but did gently suggest maybe trying regular flour for the next time.