I’m not really a cake person, with the exception of a few favorites, but I really like baking cakes for other people. I don’t really like box mix cakes. I like real cakes. Lots of flavor and texture. This is a recipe that has been in my family for a long time. It is one of the “real” cakes that I like. It takes some effort, but is well worth it.
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
Cream 1/2 cup of butter. Add dry ingredients. Add 1 1/3 cup of brown sugar, packed. Make sure there are no lumps in the brown sugar. Add 3/4 cup of milk and mix until the dry ingredients are mixed in. Add 2 eggs and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Beat at low-speed for at least one minute. Scrape bowl and beater often. Fold in 1 cup of finely chopped, toasted pecans. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line bottoms of two round 8 inch pans with parchment paper. Grease paper and sides of pan with shortening. Divide batter between the two pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on cake rack for about 5 minutes before turning out, Loosen from sides with a spatula, turn out onto racks and remove paper. Allow to totally cool before frosting.
Heat 1/4 cup sugar over low heat until melted and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 1/3 cup boiling water gradually and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cream 6 tablespoons of butter and add a dash of salt. Add 3 1/4 cup of sifted powdered sugar and the caramelized liquid alternately, a small amount at a time. Mix well after each addition. Frost cooled cake with frosting. I decorate this different every time, depending on how much time I have. Some times I just sprinkle the top with chopped pecans, sometimes I arrange pecan halves around the top edge. And when I have a lot of time, I arrange pecan halves around the center to make a flower design and then press chopped pecans all over the sides, till covered. Then enjoy.