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Mardi Gras Cake

This is the Mardi Gras Cake that I made for the Chocolate Tasting Party on Dec. 7, 2010. It is based on Jim Dodge's Chocolate-Bourbon-Pecan Cake.

Jim Dodge’s Bourbon-Chocolate-Pecan Cake

I found this great recipe from Jim Dodge in the Los Angeles Times archives which I modified a touch. Here’s what they have to say on the great chocolate baker:

Note: Jim Dodge is one of the world’s great bakers. One day he dropped into The Times’ Test Kitchen to show off his latest book, “Baking With Jim Dodge.” Flipping through the pages, he casually mentioned that this Bourbon-Chocolate-Pecan Cake travels well.

“It’s a cake I ship all around the country,” he said. It does travel well. What he failed to mention is that this is one of the best tasting cakes of all time. Everyone who has a slice says the same thing. On top of that, it’s super-easy to make.

What you need:

For the cake

2 cups pecans

Unsalted butter

8 ounces of bittersweet Guittard chocolate

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup unsweetened Special Dark Hershey’s cocoa powder

6 eggs

1/3 cup + 4 tablespoons bourbon

For the glaze:
4 oz Guittard bittersweet chocolate
1/4 pound (not cup!) unsalted butter

What you do:

1. Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast in 350-degree oven until fragrant – about 10 minutes but watch them carefully. Cool. Coursely chop up 1 1/2 cups of the pecans for cake batter.
2. Cut circle of parchment to fit bottom of 9-inch round cake pan. Butter pan well and line with parchment circle.
3. Melt 1/2 pound of butter  and chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water. Stir until satiny smooth. Cool.
4. Mix sugar, cocoa powder and eggs until well combined.
5. Add in melted chocolate, stirring to combine. Add in 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans. Stir in 1/3 cup of bourbon.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place pan inside larger pan and pour hot water to level of 1-inch in outer pan. Bake at 350 degrees until cake is firm to the touch – about 45 minutes. Do not become alarmed if the cake surface  cracks slightly.
7. Cool cake for about 30 minutes, then remove from pan leaving the parchment paper attached. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap leaving the top exposed. Then gently poke holes with a toothpick into the top inch of the cakes surface and pour the remainder of the bourbon into the cake. Cover the top of the cake and refrigerate overnight.
8. Make the glaze by melting the ingredients and then cool slightly while you get the cake out of the fridge.
9. Remove cake from your fridge and place cake upside down on a wire rack with sheet of wax paper to catch drips. Peel off parchment circle then drizzle spoonfuls of Glaze along sides of the cake. When sides are completely covered, spoon the remaining glaze on top of the cake and smooth with spatula.
10. Cover sides of cake with remaining pecans, chopped if desired. Press gently against the side of glazed cake. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains about 633 calories; 36 mg sodium; 168 mg cholesterol; 49 grams of fat; 48 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.88 grams fiber; 70% calories from fat.

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