Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.
Combine molasses, butter, and brown sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool. Add cooled molasses mixture to dry ingredients. Stir in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla; stir just until batter is smooth.
Pour batter into 6 individual connected mini Bundt pans, well-greased with shortening, filling almost full.
Bake at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove carefully from pans, and cool completely on wire rack.
Drizzle icing over cakes set on wire rack. Sprinkle with chopped pecans, if desired. Let icing harden before wrapping cakes for gift giving.
Note: Find mini Bundt pans at Williams-Sonoma or other cook stores.