Sheet Pan

Kahlua Chocolate Cake with Pecans

January 29, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 20
Author Notes

I have a wonderful friend, Darnell Arnoult, who called after her debut novel was published (SUFFICIENT GRACE), and asked if I could write a recipe for one of her characters who had won a recipe contest on the Food Network. The name of his winning recipe was Kahlua Chocolate Cake with Pecans. I thought because of the particular contest he won, it needed to be a little involved, but still very southern, and this is what I finally settled on. —Annelle

What You'll Need
  • Kahlua Chocolate Cake
  • 3 nine inch cake pans, and parchment cut to fit bottoms
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup finely ground pecans
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Kahlua
  • Filling, Icing and Garnish
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 2 teaspoons boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups very cold heavy whipping cream, plus 2 tablespoons for icing
  • 1/3 cup regular sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus 3 more tablespoons for pecan garnish
  • 3/4 cup semisweet couverture chocolate pieces, 61% cacao
  • 1 pound pecan halves*
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Kahlua Chocolate Cake
  2. Brush pans with melted butter and place parchment in each. Then brush top of parchment with butter.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup pecans evenly over parchment in bottom of each pan.
  5. Sift flour, sugar, soda and salt together in large mixing bowl.
  6. Bring water, coffee granules, cocoa and butter to a boil and stir well to combine. Pour chocolate mixture over flour mixture in large mixing bowl, and fold and stir with spatula to combine.
  7. Finally, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla, and pour into flour mixture, folding to combine.
  8. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Remove pans to wire racks to cool. When cakes are cooled, remove from pans, leaving parchment in place. Cut any domes from tops of cakes, so they will fit together nicely. Brush top of each cake with Kahlua.
  1. Filling, Icing and Garnish
  2. Combine coffee granules and boiling water and stir to dissolve. Set aside to cool. *Prepare Kahlua Pecan garnish by mixing pecans, 3 tablespoons melted butter, syrup, Kahlua, brown sugar and salt, tossing to combine. Place coated pecans on sheet pan and into 375 degree preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, tossing several times while cooking until browned. Remove from oven and cool. Store in airtight container. (May be made several days ahead.)
  3. Beat 1 1/2 cups very cold whipping cream with 1/3 cup regular sugar until thick and holds its shape. Fold in cooled coffee mixture.
  4. Remove parchment from cakes and place one layer on serving dish, pecan side down. Spread with half of the whipped cream mixture. Top with second cake and remaining whipped cream. Then top with final cake. Spread any filling around outside of cake with offset spatula, and place in refrigerator until ready to ice.
  5. Combine 3 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cups chocolate pieces in sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until melted and well combined. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Set aside until cooled and thickened enough to spread as icing.
  6. Remove cake from refrigerator. Pour about half the ganache around edge of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Smooth around sides with offset spatula. Pour remaining over top of cake, spreading quickly with off set spatula. Decorate with Kahlua Pecans.
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1 Review

Synky January 25, 2013
One of the best cakes around! While it certainly takes some time to make, it's definitely worth it! Extremely tasty, even better on the second day! I halved the recipe and made it twice (so I had four smaller layers). The filling turned out perfectly and was very easy to spread. The Kahlua soaked/baked pecans were extremely tasty! I used about 1/3 cup of ground pecans at the bottom of each pan which worked well. Amazing cake! Thank you!!!