Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Let cool.
Meanwhile, beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Divide batter into 2 equal portions (about 3 1/2 cups each); stir cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and pecans into 1 portion. Pour plain batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans (about 1 3/4 cups batter per pan). Pour spiced batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans (about 2 cups batter per pan).
Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
Place 1 plain cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand; spread top with 2/3 cup Filling, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Top with a spice cake layer, and spread top with Filling as directed above. Repeat procedure with remaining plain cake layer and Filling. Top with remaining spice cake layer. Prepare White Icing; spread icing over top and sides of cake.
To get this right the first time (which I happened to do amazingly) one must follow the directions exactly. EXACTLY. It is AMAZING! I made it for my husband's birthday. It is a perfect cake for fall/winter especially. The only suggestion I would make is to make it for a crowd that can eat it within a few days, as the frosting limps, as it were, after 2 days....but is still *really* good, even if you freeze the leftovers. Oh! Add 1 Tablespoon of MOLASSES to frosting! It makes the icing off white and blends in so well with the flavors in the cake, yet does not overpower it.
I made this cake for a family Christmas party. It was marvelous. The only changes I made were that I made my own lemon curd and changed the frosting to a cream cheese frosting. It's at the top of my top 10 list.
I made it for my Christmas dinner and was pleased with the results although I did make several changes. Based on other readers' reviews, I was scared off by the lemon curd so I used a 12 oz. jar of pumpkin butter mixed with an 8 oz. jar of lemon curd and used only a little of the coconut. The pumpkin flavor was more dominant than the lemon and pumpkin seemed more appropriate for a spice cake anyway. I also used a buttercream frosting rather than the suggested frosting. With these changes I was happy and would make again.
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