16 servings or one 9” cake
- Pastry chef and author, Gesine Bullock-Prado, shares a treasured family recipe she calls a “complicated piece of goodness”. Passed down from her mother and bearing her name, Helga Cake is “almost savory” featuring the luxurious flavor combination of pecans and rich dark chocolate.
- ●Non-stick cooking spray
- ●12 ounces pecans (can also use slivered almonds)
- ●1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- ●1/2 teaspoon plus 1 pinch salt, divided
- ●6 extra-large eggs, separated (keep both yolks and whites)
- ●2 whole extra-large eggs
- ●1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
- ●2 teaspoons baking powder
- ●2 2/3 cups (16 ounces) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels
- ●3 extra large egg yolks
- ●3/4 cup boiling hot coffee
- ●3/4 cup or 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ●Pecan halves, lightly toasted and cooled (optional)
Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray three 9-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper or wax paper. Set aside.
Place pecans (or almonds), 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in food processor container. Cover; grind until they turn into a fine meal. Add the 6 egg yolks, 2 whole eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and baking powder and blend until they turn into a smooth paste.
Beat 6 egg whites on High in large bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment or in large bowl with a hand mixer until they start to look foamy. Slowly add the remaining sugar in a slow steady stream. Beat until the whites are shiny, smooth and hold a stiff peaks but aren't dry and chunky.
Transfer the pecan paste to a large mixing bowl and stir in a heaping spoonful of whipped egg whites. Gently fold the remaining whipped egg whites into the pecan mixture with a large rubber spatula until well incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and browns at the edges. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.
Place morsels, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and remaining pinch of salt in a heat proof bowl. Place over hot (not boiling) water. Do not cover. Prevent water from coming in contact with morsels. When morsels begin to turn shiny, stir constantly until melted. Transfer contents to food processor container; cover.
Stir three egg yolks together in small bowl. Continuously stir the yolks while slowly adding a little bit of very hot coffee and then carefully pour in remaining coffee. Pour the yolk mixture through a sieve into the food processor. Cover; pulse and add the butter, a small piece at a time. Continue pulsing until the frosting is smooth. Let cool slightly.
Spread approximately 1/4 of the frosting in an even layer over a layer of cake and add a second layer, and continue layering with frosting and cake and then spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
Optional: Press the pecan halves around top edge of cake, leaving a few for the center. Refrigerate before serving to set the frosting.