Chocolate Pecan Cake

The only thing thing that makes me excited about football season is the FOOD. There, I said it.

When you’re feeding a bunch of crazy dudes huddled around a TV, food has to be fast, easy and hearty. I appreciate these three things. It appeals to my dude sensibilities.

Bonus points are given for wings, carbs & booze. Paper towels are a must. Leave the roll. Always.

And if you’re walking into a “man cave” with food, bring some ear plugs.

DUDES.  Why must you scream at the players on TV? They can’t hear YOU. I don’t understand, dudes.

What about dessert?

A cake that’s made in a big rectangular pan, covered in chocolate frosting and roasted pecans? That will do the trick. No cupcakes. No cakes shaped like footballs or helmets. A cake with their player’s number might slide, but all you really need is a huge cake. The best part is that you can see how big of a helping they serve themselves. This cake serves 8…or maybe 4 dudes who are wearing their team’s jersey.

When it comes to men and cake slices, size matters.

And we’re off

Ingredient gathering. There’s some division going on up in here.

Butter, sugar, cocoa powder, & chocolate. We melt this to start the cake making section.

Buttermilk, eggs & vanilla get mixed up.

Dry ingredients go into a bowl.

Melted chocolate gets the egg mixture treatment.

All of this goes in with the dry ingredients.

Batter goes into a greased pan.

DONE DONE DONE. It’s been baked.

In the last few minutes of the oven baking the cake, you should toast your pecans. Takes about 5-8 minutes.

Now it’s frosting time.

Butter & cocoa powder take a trip to saucepan town.

Melt! Add in the powdered sugar.

HOLY MOLY.  This is with the addition of milk. Boom.

And we’re offfffffffffff

Smooth it out.

This is really a marvelous thing. The frosting kinda drips along the sides. It’s fantastic.

It kinda reminds me of Dairy Queen. Just do it.

Top with the roasted pecans.

Uh huh.

It’s a sweet cake that’s balanced with NUTS. It’s mind-blowing in a no-fuss way. It’s sorta like a brownie but totally not.

Let’s not talk about football together.

Chocolate Pecan Cake

serves 8

recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

  • 2 sticks  unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons milk
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . In large saucepan, melt 1 1/2 sticks butter, chocolate, granulated sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa and 1 cup water over medium, whisking until smooth and warm. Let cool, 10 minutes. Grease bottom and sides of 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. salt into chocolate mixture. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda; whisk just until blended. Transfer batter to prepared pan; bake until springy in center, about 45 minutes.

Make frosting:

In medium saucepan, melt remaining 4 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Whisk in 6 tbsp. milk and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. salt; remove from heat. Whisk in confectioners sugar until smooth (mix in 1 to 2 tbsp. more milk if too thick). Let cake cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes, then frost warm cake. Sprinkle with pecans. Let cake cool completely before cutting and serving.

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52 Comments

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  • October 4, 2012

    Tracy this looks so rich and decadent (and easy!) and I want that frosting! And of course, the cake, too!

  • October 4, 2012

    YES! I agree with the last photo, YES! I was just thinking about how I need to pick up some pecans, ’cause ’tis the season for them, and this confirms it. Love the oozing chocolate frosting.

  • October 4, 2012

    Looks yummy, think I will make it with walnuts. Pecans are just so darn expensive **sad face** Or is this cake worth YOLOing a bag of pecans **ponders**

  • October 4, 2012

    It made my mouth water: can I have a slice, even if i don’t watch football?

  • October 4, 2012

    This sounds ridiculously good. I’m totally trying it… even if my dude isn’t big on sweets!

  • October 4, 2012

    Oh my, I don’t like football but I’m ready to watch it if I can eat your cake! :D

  • berry
    October 4, 2012

    this is right up my alley… (go Pack, btw ;) )

  • October 4, 2012

    The YES photo is about the best thing ever. Exactly what I was thinking! Pecans are pretty much my favorite thing to include in dessert. YES. Just, yes.

  • October 4, 2012

    In it for the food, girl! Like, whoa! is right…my husband would love this cake, even if he does watch the other kind of football.

  • October 4, 2012

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and I absolutely love what you do! I was JUST telling my boyfriend the other day that football season gets me stoked for chili, wings, and any kind of brownie. But who am I kidding? I’m always in it for the food. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  • jenny
    October 4, 2012

    I don’t watch football, nor do I have a boyfriend/husband who does. but church potluck? heck yes!

  • October 4, 2012

    HA! This is so man-appropriate. Of course, the Booze Hound would tell me to forget the dessert and just focus on making sure we have enough beer, but then I’ll find an empty platter of these brownies. Men- can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. I could live without him during the crazy football season, though. The stress nearly puts me over the edge. So maybe I’ll make these brownies for ME!

  • October 4, 2012

    Oops, it’s cake, not brownies. Still… love!

  • Inde
    October 4, 2012

    This looks amazing!! I will def be making this one for sure :)

  • October 4, 2012

    Here’s the deal:
    I opened up my Blogloving account and I saw the photo and I haven’t even read this post yet, I just skipped down to the comments section to tell you that instinctively, “Hell yes, get inside me” is what came out of my mouth without thought or reason.

    Now I’ma read this post.

    • Tracy
      October 4, 2012

      HAHAHAHA. I respect you.

  • October 4, 2012

    I’ll just take a slice of this for breakfast, please and thank you :)

  • YES indeed!

  • October 4, 2012

    1) I love me some football
    2) I totally yell at the TV
    3) I would absolutely hoard this cake and eat it all myself.

    • Tracy
      October 4, 2012

      lemme get you a fork then!

  • October 4, 2012

    Re: slice sizes, SO TRUE. When I asked my father-in-law how large a slice he wanted of the quiche I’d made, he said “A quarter.” “What?” “A quarter.” He wanted 1/4 of the whole thing! That never even occurred to me as an option. =) Different worlds.

    • Tracy
      October 4, 2012

      I appreciate his use of fractions!

  • October 4, 2012

    Ahhh perfect timing!! My finance’s birthday is on Tuesday and he wants a chocolate, chocolate cake! Perfection :)!!

  • October 4, 2012

    Oh MY GEE! This. Is. It!

  • Sini
    October 4, 2012

    Hell yes! Chocolate and pecans – a winner combination! Is this cake like really sweet? I’m wondering if I should reduce the amount of sugar as I don’t like tooo sweet cakes… Do you think it would be okay if I would reduce the amount of sugar by 1/3 (or even 2/3) cups?

  • October 4, 2012

    I am very often displeased with serving sizes. My hungry husband and I can totally polish off something the recipe has informed me should feed 4-6. But in this case, it seems for once the yield is not overestimated! Ah, thank you, Tracy, for your refreshingly honest serving size calculation. (PS I don’t really love football, either. But I do love food.)

  • October 4, 2012

    I am ever pro-sheetcaketown. I like those prettily decorated frilly numbers too, but these are way better for feeding a crowd.

  • October 4, 2012

    Chocolate on top of chocolate on top of chocolate. This is my kinda cake.

  • October 4, 2012

    YES! *drools* I’m nuts over chocolate :P

  • October 4, 2012

    Great presentation of a cake for the men we love! Also, unrelated, but yesterday at work I had to cut off my underwear they were so uncomfortable. Made me think of you!

  • Sarah McG
    October 4, 2012

    So considering you and Joy discussed chocolate not too long ago on the Podcast, what kind did you use for this recipe? I’m totes making it tonight.

  • Sarah McG
    October 4, 2012

    p.s. I’ve been a lurker for a looooooooong time and here I am, finally!

  • Always with the yelling, right? I have learned to block it out and just concern myself with finishing off the 7 Layer Dip, real talk. I never thought to provide dessert for sporting events. You’re so smart! Pinned!

  • Sue
    October 4, 2012

    Definitely making!!!

  • Lauren
    October 4, 2012

    In Texas, we call this Texas Sheet Cake! So de-lish! Nice work Tracy!!

  • Mrs. P
    October 4, 2012

    Chocolate cake and pecans. Two things my husband won’t touch. This cake is MINE! :)

  • Jayne
    October 4, 2012

    Too beautiful for words, this cake. I’d love to see a picture of them men chomping this thing down. That would make this post even more perfect than it already is.

  • Natalia
    October 5, 2012

    Awful day to start a diet!!!!, I’ll have to start tomorrow then after I make this wonder of a cake!!!!

  • October 6, 2012

    “Let’s not talk about football together.”

    YES^^ Love it. And that frosting. Oh my.

  • amy
    October 7, 2012

    If you were making this cake a day in advance, how would you store it?

  • October 7, 2012

    I often wonder the same thing – why yell at the TV! My brother in-law goes ape shit over it …. it will ruin his life if his team does not even play well, let alone lose. Insane. My opinion is the same as yours; games are all about the booze and food. AMEN.

    This is a great take on pecan pie, which I am not a fan of but Lenny is. I am going to add this to our Thanksgiving menu. Cannot wait!

  • October 7, 2012

    Totally agree about not loving football. I could watch basketball all day but football — not my thing. And, yes, I agree that this is waaaay better than helmet-shaped cupcakes!

  • October 10, 2012

    This looks amazing! I’ll have to make it when I know people will be coming over so I don’t end up eating it all.

    • Tracy
      October 10, 2012

      Sounds like a good plan. I made some this past weekend…DANGEROUS.

  • Kristan
    October 18, 2012

    Tracy – do you think this cake would cook well, say, in a bunt cake pan? I wanted to do something cute for my daughter’s birthday, but THIS is the recipe I want to make :)

  • Sini
    October 21, 2012

    I made a chocolate bundt cake last night. I came home after an exhausting day at work and was seriously craving for some chocolate love. I made the batter and poured it into the bundt pan. I started to wonder how much sugar I put into the batter. 1 or 2 dl? Something said to me that certainly not the 4 dl which the recipe called for. Too late, I thought, let’s bake the cake. The cake came out of the oven. I took a slice (who said you have to let the cake sit for at least 10 minutes??). The texture was ok but it lacked sweetness. Okay, so what now? Glazing? Chocolate glazing? CHOCOLATE PECAN GLAZING from Tracy! Oh yes. The cake turned out fantastic, much better than the original one :) Thank you!!

  • Josephine
    October 26, 2012

    So, I had an opened carton of buttermilk and two eggs in the fridge that were looking too idle. I’m also breastfeeding a 10-week-old and seem to need chocolate via an IV drip. Hmn, what to do? Why, Chocolate pecan cake, you’ll do nicely!

    Tracy, this was quite the winner, many thanks for sharing it! I’m not going to say how much I consumed by myself…

    • Tracy
      October 28, 2012

      FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • October 29, 2012

    I’ve been feeling bad because I missed my dad’s birthday yesterday (I moved to another state recently). I think I’ll make up for it by baking this cake for him next time I’m home! He loves chocolate and pecans (as do I) and I love that this cake doesn’t require a mixer!

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