Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
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.

Ratings & Reviews

MicaelaWhy's Review

December 11, 2012

garmaux's Review

November 25, 2012

MShuham's Review

November 21, 2011
After reading all the reviews of how difficult it is to frost this cake, I decided to make it as a 9x13 single layer cake. Since this was for an office Thanksgiving party, I chose to bake it in a disposable pan (bake time of 37 minutes was perfect!). The frosting did set quickly on me but i spread it out as best I could and then sprinkled the pecans to distract from the streaky frost job. The cake was a hit with colleagues and I plan to make it for my family's thanksgiving celebration this week!

VestaJ's Review

December 30, 2010
I agree that the frosting sets too quickly, but I just frosted the first layer and the top. Served to company and it was a hit. My husband is a "frosting guy", and he said there was plenty and delicious. I used substitutes for buttermilk and heavy cream.. I almost always use milk instead of cream. Worked out fine.

crusnock's Review

December 28, 2010
Like the others that made this as a cake, I had a terrible time getting the glaze to cooperate. The recipe didn't call for enough, and it set so fast that the cake looked horrible. I ended up covering it with chopped pecans to hide the ugly appearance of the glaze. Taste was ok. If I were to make again, I would make as cupcakes.

abbyleigh912's Review

December 10, 2010
Tasted delicious, but harder to make than I thought. The cake part was easy enough but, like many others have said, the frosting was another story. First there was not enough...I doubled the recipe and had barely enough. It set almost immediately after mixing, so I kept having to add water by the teaspoonful to get it to the right consistency. The cake still ended up looking "crusty" because of how the frosting went on. Good thing it was just for my husband and me!

Hooptwin's Review

November 28, 2010
The frosting tastes amazing! Like other reviewers said, the frosting set quick! I was only able to frost the tops of each layer in time, but only got halfway around the sides. The cake tasted decent, but not wow.

shirazgirl's Review

November 28, 2010
Cake tasted good but was still dry even after brushing with maple simple syrup. The frosting started out easy then went down hill. I tripled the recipe and just had enough. I used only 75% of the powdered sugar and it was still too sweet. . The second I stopped beating the frosting it started to set and was nearly impossible to spread on the cake without it becoming grainy. I had to reheat frosting and piece meal it...leaving it looking like a play doh project. The sweetness of the frosting overshadowed the cake considerably. Good idea in theory, but unsuccessful nonetheless.

detailaddict's Review

November 27, 2010
This cake had very good flavor and the family liked it in the end, but I agree that the amount of frosting was meager as seems typical for CL cakes. My layers did not rise much because I used spelt flour, so I decided to make two more layers for more height. I thought doubling the frosting would be sufficient, but I had to triple it to have enough to finish the top and sides. I also found that the first batch set too quickly, so I decreased the boiling time on the last batch to extend the spreadability. I would make this again, but I will always be wary of CL frosting amounts.

dmarie1's Review

November 25, 2010
Delicious! I needed to double the icing recipe and you need to work fast when icing!