Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pecan Cake: A Good Way to Start a Diet

Have you read the book, Julie and Julia; 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen; by Julie Powell? At one point, Julie talks about the spectacular pecan cake she makes that everyone loves. When I went to the Internet to find the recipe, I found that I was not the only one who just had to make that cake after reading about it in luscious detail.

The full name of the recipe is Paul Prudhomme's Spiced Pecan Cake. We had a dinner party for eight last night and I made the cake for dessert.

Let me tell you a bit about it. First of all, nobody needs this cake! It is incredibly rich--beyond rich, needlessly rich. The cake itself has less than a cup of butter, only 3 egg whites, and no salt. I really wish that I had stopped there. As a matter of fact, I could have divided the recipe into thirds and baked a single, unfrosted layer. I think it might have been a hit that way, especially after a filling supper.

However, the frosting calls for 8 egg yolks, an incredible cup and a half of butter, and a total of five cups of sugar. I was so far into the spirit of the thing that I actually made that frosting. A tiny skimming of it might have been tasty, but I followed the directions and ladled the darn stuff onto the three layers of the cake. I could hardly lift the plate when it was done.

I had spent a part of the three previous days cracking and chopping pecans; sometimes alone, while listening to bluegrass and blues, and sometimes with the help of a friend. Of course, I could have bought the nuts already prepared, but we do live in a pecan orchard and I had these huge bags of pecans waiting in the freezer (just under the huge bags of hot green chiles!). The recipe calls for a total of four and a half cups--we gave up after four, which turned out to be more than ample. Way more, as was everything else about this monster of a cake.

The eight of us were able to eat less than half of the thing. I sent some home with some strong and willing guests. The rest of the thing is squatting on my kitchen counter, just waiting for some unwary fool to lift the cover.

It was a great way to start a diet. I don't think I ever want to eat again.

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