Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Chill: 1 to 2 hours
* Unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see note)
* 2/3 cup cooking oil
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1-3/4 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 tablespoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
* Chocolate Frosting (see recipe)
* 1-1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
* 3/4 cup purchased caramel ice cream topping
1. Grease three 9-inch cake pans*. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper; dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Set pans aside.
2. In a small bowl, stir together egg, buttermilk and cooking oil; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, beating with an electric mixer until combined. Gradually beat in hot coffee. Pour batter into prepared pans; spread evenly. (Layers will appear shallow.)
3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cakes on a wire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pans, then invert cakes on racks. Remove cakes from pans. Peel off paper; cool thoroughly.
4. When the cakes are cool, make the Chocolate Frosting. Place 1 cake layer, top-side down, onto a serving plate. Using an icing spatula or wide knife, work quickly to frost the top of this layer with one-third of the frosting, pushing it out slightly from edges to make ripple or petal effect. Arrange one-third of the pecans on top and drizzle with 1/4 cup of the ice cream topping. Top with the second layer, top-side down. Repeat with frosting, pecans and caramel topping. Top with the third layer, right side up. Repeat with remaining frosting, pecans and caramel topping.
5. Chill cake 1 to 2 hours before serving. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
Chocolate Frosting:In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup milk. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add one 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces. Using a wire whisk, mix until smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly brewed hot coffee. Makes about 2-1/2 cups.
Note:If you don`t have buttermilk on hand when preparing this cake, substitute sour milk in the same amount. For each cup of sour milk needed, place 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup total liquid; stir. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.
*If you only have two 9-inch cake pans, refrigerate 1/3 of the batter while you bake the other two layers. Clean and prepare one of the pans as directed, and bake remaining batter.