Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
Yield
16 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Work quickly to spread the warm frosting over the first layer, stack the second on top, and then spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides before it sets. If you prefer, you can substitute walnuts for the pecans in this luscious cake.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

To prepare cake, coat 2 (8-inch) round metal cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms of pans with wax paper; coat with cooking spray. Dust each pan with 1 teaspoon flour. Weigh or lightly spoon 9 ounces flour (about 2 cups) into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 9 ounces flour, baking soda, and next 4 ingredients (through cloves), stirring well with a whisk.

Step 3

Place 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a large mixing bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until combined. Fold in 1/3 cup pecans. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 24 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes on wire racks. Invert cake layers onto racks; cool completely. Discard wax paper.

Step 5

To prepare frosting, place 1/2 cup brown sugar, heavy whipping cream, maple syrup, 1 tablespoon butter, and dash of salt in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil, stirring just until sugar dissolves. Cook 3 minutes, without stirring. Scrape brown sugar mixture into a bowl. Add powdered sugar; beat with a mixer at high speed 2 minutes or until slightly cooled and thick. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread about 3/4 cup frosting evenly over 1 layer; top with second layer. Spread remaining frosting over sides and top of cake; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons pecans. Let the cake stand until frosting sets.

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