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Sour Cream Layer Cake with Pecan Brittle

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Ingredients You'll Need

nonstick vegetable oil spray
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
1 18.25 ounce yellow cake mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely grated
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup whipping cream
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature


FOR PECAN BRITTLE: Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine sugar, 1/4 cup water and cream of tartar in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 9 minutes. Add chopped pacans and swirl to blend. Pour out onto prepared baking sheet; spread evenly. Cool brittle completely. Cut 3 large pieces of brittly (each about 1 1/2 inches). Cut remaining brittle into 1/3 inch pieces. (can be make 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature)

FOR CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9" diamter cake pans with 1 1/2 inch high sides with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Combine cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until well blended, about 3 minutes; fold in grated chocolate. Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake cakes until brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Cut around cakes to loosen; turn out onto racks. Peel off paper and cool cakes completely.

FOR FROSTING: Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes. Mix in cream. Beat 3 cups powdered sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in brown sugar mixture. Beat in enough remaining powdered sugar to form frosting that is thick enough to spread. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup small brittle pieces; press into frosting. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Stand large brittle pieces in center of cake. Arrange smaller brittle pieces in 1" wide border around top edge of cake.

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