To quote Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Today I made a Chocolate Pecan Loaf Cake, I’ve got love, but I needed a little chocolate.
I am considering submitting a few recipes for a holiday recipe contest sponsored by our electric co-op. They are looking for the best pecan recipes-savory and sweet. Texas is a large producer of pecans and the main criteria is that all recipes must include pecans. I’ve got several tried and true recipes using one of my favorite nuts but I also have a new book, given to me by Miss T, and it’s all about chocolate. I decided to try the combination of pecans, chocolate, and my delicious honey in an effort to submit a winning recipe.
One of the benefits to using honey is that it allows the cake to stay moist longer. The flavors are subtle but the sweet chocolate taste stands out fulfilling that “need” for chocolate. The cake is tender and moist with a hint of espresso richness. This loaf style cake will be equally delectable with a cup of mid morning coffee or served as a lovely, simple dessert.
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 cup warm water
1/1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/14 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease an 8 x 4 x 3″ loaf pan. dust it with flour and tap out any excess.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Set aside and allow to cool to lukewarm.
In a small bowl dissolve the espresso in the warm water.
In a medium bowl, whisky together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on high-speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the cooled chocolate and honey. Alternately beat in the flour mixture and coffee until well blended. Stir in the pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap it on the counter to remove air bubbles. Bake in the center of the oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a rack and allow to cool completely. Decorate with whole pecans and sprinkle with powdered sugar if you wish.