You can tell a lot about baker by the cake they choose for their own birthday. This chocolate pecan cake with a rich Bourbon and Cherry filling is what I chose for mine. I made this cake without a plan, starting with the filling and improvising the rest from there. That’s the thing about cake making that many people misunderstand. While the baking of the cake layers requires precise chemistry, the majority of the process is about creativity, personal preferences, and just letting things happen.
I didn’t track measurements when building my filling, but you can see the main components here: Homemade Maraschino cherries, fresh cherries, Maker’s Mark, and sugar. I made sure to boil things down well, so the kids could enjoy the cake too. I also used a dash of corn starch (throw a tablespoon or so into your next filling to help things come together. Just be sure to stir continuously to keep it from clumping). Your palate is your best tool when it comes to creating complex flavors, so taste as you go and don’t be afraid to stray from a recipe adding a pinch of this and a dash of that as you please.
With the filling complete, I knew that it was just begging to be paired with a rich chocolate cake and chocolate ganache. Confession: the cake was from a box and I have ZERO shame about that. You shouldn’t either. I decided to add chopped pecans to the batter as well as a bit of pecan flavoring I had on hand. I chose to use three layers of 6″ round cake; the perfect size for a small celebration (while, of course, making sure there is plenty leftover for breakfast the next day!)
Each layer was filled with the cherry bourbon mixture and chocolate chip pecan buttercream. I piped magenta, royal blue, and black buttercream in patches haphazardly around the cake. Using a bakers blade, I blended the patches with a few long, continuous, laps around the perimeter. Excited by the effect that appeared, I moved on to topping the cake with a rich semisweet ganache.
I piped finishing touches with slightly cooled ganache around the base of the cake and adorned the top with a crown of ganache and whole pecans. yum. Yum. YUM!
Another year gone by and another great birthday spent with my family and friends. I hope that this year you’ll splurge a bit too, and make that cake you’ve been dreaming of. You deserve it.