aunty di’s pecan cake

My Aunty Di’s from Chicago and as a kid I was always really intrigued about all kinds of things that she grew up with that were so foreign to us. Im talking about things like: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Starbucks and the White Sox. I’ve always wanted to go and see these things for myself. I want to go to McDonald’s and ‘upsize’ my fries. I want to go to a college football game complete with cheerleaders, a marching band and a real life ‘quarterback’. I want to eat dinner in a ‘diner’ and order a hotdog with ‘the lot’.

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I want to sing “Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd..” at the top of my lungs; the theme song I’ve known the words to since I was three years old. I want to see what all the fuss is about with Halloween; I want to go ‘trick or treating’ in a suburb that has candy waiting behind every door. I want to go to a real Thanksgiving dinner and eat turkey and ‘yams’ and I want to wear a woollen turtleneck jumper on Christmas Day. I want to see for myself what a Northern Hemisphere Christmas tree looks like; apparently they’re very different to our radiator pines, and I want to go to an ice hockey game (just like in The Mighty Ducks).

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But most of all, I want to go and have a cup of coffee and a piece of my Aunty Di’s famous pecan cake with her family, where she grew up. Always associating Aunty Di with everything ‘American’, I’ve therefore always associated her pecan cake with America as well. And I’m thrilled to be able to share this recipe with you.

By far one of my favourite cakes, it’s been loved by the Thomas family for as long as I can remember. Terrific to enjoy with a hot cuppa, it’s deliciously sweet and comforting; the best thing to have in the house when you have people coming to stay. The cinnamon in it is really lovely and I love the crunch that the pecans bring. A special recipe that’ll be loved for many more years to come.

One of these days we’ll get there.

…but in the meantime, a piece of this cake will have to do.

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aunty di’s pecan cake

250 grams of butter, softened
1 3/4 cups of sugar (plus another 2 x teaspoons)
2 x eggs
1 x teaspoon of vanilla extract
300ml of sour cream
2 x cups of plain flour
1 x teaspoon of baking powder
1 x tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 x tablespoon of milk
1 x cup of pecans
1 x teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Canola oil spray, for greasing the tin

You will need a large bundt cake tin for this recipe.

  • Preheat the oven to 170℃.
  • Add the butter to a large bowl of a stand mixer and beat well. Gradually add the sugar whilst continuing to beat until pale and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.
  • Gently fold in the sifted flour and baking powder.
  • Add the oil and milk and mix. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the pecans, cinnamon and two teaspoons of sugar.
  • Grease the cake tin really well and scatter in half of the pecans. Spoon in half of the cake batter and do your best to spread it out. Scatter the rest of the pecans over the top and add the rest of the cake mix. Smooth with a spatula.
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 55-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. (Make sure you bake the cake on the bottom shelf of the oven). 
  • Cool in the cake tin before turning out on to a cake stand.

Lo’s tips

  • You can use a large round cake tin instead if you don’t have a bundt tin handy. If you do this, you will want to layer the cake differently so that the top of the cake has the pecan mixture on top once cooked (remembering that a bundt cake gets turned out of the tin). Instead, put the cake batter in first, followed by the pecans and so on.
  • The addition of the sour cream in this cake means that it’s best suited to the bundt tin (as it is a little harder to cook through to the middle in a round tin). If you do use a round tin however, cook the cake in a lower oven again, 160℃ should do it. You just don’t want it to burn on the outside, not to be cooked through.
  • Practice makes perfect!

Don’t miss the progress shots below.

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If you make this pecan cake, please leave your comments below. xx

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