1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans that are at least 2 inches deep. Line pans with parchment; grease parchment.
2. In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar, pecans, zest, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir in fruit. Fold into flour mixture. Divide batter between pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
3. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around inside edges of pans. Turn cakes onto rack to cool completely.
4. Make frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on high speed until light, 3 minutes. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Reduce speed to low; beat in sugar, then vanilla.
5. Assemble cake: Using a serrated knife, slice cakes in half horizontally to make 4 layers. Place 1 cake layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with a scant 1 cup frosting. Repeat twice. Top with final cake layer, bottom side up. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle pecans on top and press into frosting on sides, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Frost Like a Pro
Follow these simple steps and people might think you bought your dessert at a bakery.
Step 1. Level it.
If your cake has a domed top, use a serrated knife to cut off the dome, making top as level as possible. Flip the bottom layer over so it rests on the cut side before frosting.
Step 2. Frost the middle.
Spread the frosting evenly on the first layer using an offset spatula. Don't worry about making it look perfect, as long as it's even. Be careful not to pull crumbs into the frosting. Place the second layer on top and gently press down.
Step 3. Finish it.
Spread the frosting over the top and sides. To make pretty whorls, run the back of a tablespoon over the frosting in a swirling motion.