Rich Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Cake

Diane Hopson Smith


I found this recipe in a Special Edition Southern Living Christmas Cookbook.

I've tweaked it a little using dark cocoa and I added chocolate chips to the frosting for a richer cake and frosting.

This cake is moist, rich in chocolate and has a very smooth flavor of bourbon.

We presented this cake to a friend who visited us this week for his birthday.

This would be an awesome holiday cake, especially around Thanksgiving or Christmas.


★★★★★ 1 vote

35 Min
45 Min


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3 c
all purpose flour, sifted
2 1/4 tsp
baking soda
3/4 tsp
1 1/2 c
boiling water
1 1/4 c
dark cocoa, unsweetened
3/4 c
1 Tbsp
pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c
unsalted butter, room temperature
3 c
brown sugar, firmly packed
6 large
eggs, room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 c
bourbon, optional


1 c
butter, room temperature
(16-oz) packages powdered sugar
1/2 c
heavy whipping cream (may need more)
2 tsp
pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c
pecans, chopped
2 Tbsp
heavy whipping cream
1/2 c
dark cocoa, unsweetened
1 c
semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
additional chopped pecan for garnish if desired

How to Make Rich Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Cake


  • 1Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.

    NOTE: My pans were 2-inches deep. The cake rose very slightly over this level. No batter spilled over in the oven but I did cut a few little crusty pieces from the rim of the cake pans. And I enjoyed the little treat as well.
  • 2Sift flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • 3Pour boiling water over cocoa; whisk until smooth. Add milk and vanilla; whisk to combine.
  • 4At a medium speed on electic mixer in a large bowl; beat butter until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar beat about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • 5Reduce speed on mixer to low. Add dry ingredients alternately with cocoa mixture beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • 6Pour batter evenly into prepared pans; bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pans and cool completely on wire racks for about 1 hour.

    NOTE: When cooling this cake I made the mistake of flipping one layer top side down on the rack. This layer wanted to crumble a little because it stuck to the wire rack while the other layer I flipped bottom side down did perfect. Take a few seconds to flip the layers so that they are bottom side down on the wire racks.
  • Next you will split the layers so that you will have 4 layers. I...
    7Next you will split the layers so that you will have 4 layers. I know of 2 ways of accomplishing this:

    1. Use a Cake Slicer/Leveler to slice each layer in half horizontally. This is the method I used.


    2. Once layers have cooled completely; wrap and freeze each layer for about 1 hour. Using a serrated knife, slice cake layers in half horizontally.
  • 8Brush both sides of each of the 4 layers with bourbon. Place 1st layer on plate; spread pecan frosting between each of 3 layers. Do not spread on top of the 4th layer. Spread top and sides with chocolate frosting. Garnish if desired with more chopped pecans. For best flavor, allow cake to set for 24 hours at room temperature.
    You will be splitting this frosting in half. You will add pecans to one half for the filling and cocoa to the other half for the outer frosting.
  • 10Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, reduce speed to low and add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating until well blended. Add 1/2 cup cream and the vanilla; beat until blended.
  • 11Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until smooth. Remove 1/2 of this mixture to another bowl. To one bowl stir in the nuts and 1 Tbsp of cream. This bowl is your filling. To the other bowl add the cocoa, the remaining 1 Tbsp cream and the melted chocolate chips; beat until well blended. This bowl is your frosting.
  • 12NOTES:
    If frosting mixture seems too dry add a little more cream, if too wet; add a little more powdered sugar.

    I find when spreading frosting or filling that if you dip the spatula in water before spreading either the frosting or filling it will spread easier without lifting the cake crumbs.

Printable Recipe Card

About Rich Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Cake

Course/Dish: Cakes
Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: American

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