This moist cake, topped by a generous layer of cardamom-spiced, pecan-dotted crumbs, is a fabulous gift. F&W's Kate Heddings brought one to a holiday dinner party for her hosts to serve to overnight guests at breakfast the next day—"even though I wouldn't be there to eat it!" she says. Along with the cake, she gave the Calphalon pan she baked it in, fresh-ground coffee beans and a glass container of heavy cream.
2 cups pecans
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the glaze
Preheat the oven to 350°. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan.
Step 2 Make the glaze
Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, until browned. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
Step 3 Make the glaze
In a medium bowl, stir the melted butter with both sugars, the cardamom and salt. Add the flour and stir until clumpy. Stir in the chopped nuts.
Step 4 Make the glaze
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, melted butter and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the surface. Scatter the crumbs in large clumps over the cake; the crumb layer will be quite deep.
Step 5 Make the glaze
Bake for about 55 minutes, until the crumbs are golden and firm and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If the crumbs brown before the cake is done, cover the cake loosely with foil. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Step 6 Make the glaze
In a bowl, whisk all of the glaze ingredients together. Drizzle the glaze over the cake; let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The cake can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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