Rebecca Rather Mexican Chocolate Fudge-Pecan Cake

If there is one chocolate cake I take to a party or a dinner this is it.  You can't beat it. Rebecca Rather does a phenomenal job. I currently own four of her cookbooks  and I love each one of them. The name of the cookbook this recipe is out of is her first "The Pastry Queen".  I first encountered Rebecca's pastry shop in Fredericksburg, Texas many years ago while visiting a friend in San Antonio.
This is one of the few cakes where I'd advocate including the nuts since they're part of the glaze, not the cake itself.  In the glaze, the crunch of toasted pecans adds the perfect flavor and texture complement to the sweet glaze.  The cake batter is easy to make but don't worry if you have small lumps in the mix. Believe me its not going to beat out smooth.   She lets you know that in the cook book.   The cake has excellent flavor and a soft, moist texture.  The glaze makes it rich and chocolaty and the pecans add a nice crunch.  I assure you that you will love this recipe.  Its actually not hard and it doesn't take long to make it at all.  Enjoy baking and happy holidays. 


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

¾ cup water

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt


Chocolate-pecan glaze

1 cup pecans

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

¼ cup whole milk

½ cup high-quality dark cocoa powder, such as Scharffenberger

2 cups sifted powdered sugar (sifted then measured)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt


1.     Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a 9-inch tube pan or a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with butter, sprinkle lightly with flour and tap over the sink to remove any excess.

2.     Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth.  Add the water and whisk until smooth.  Be careful not to boil the mixture.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla to the warm cocoa mixture all at once; whisk until smooth.  Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt all at once; whisk until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated.  If there are lumps, strain the batter as you pour it into the pan. 

3.     Bake for 40 to 45 minutes; the cake is done when it has pulled away slightly from the sides of the pan and feels firm to the touch. 

4.     Let the cake cool in the pan about 20 minutes. 

5.     Meanwhile, make the glaze: Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the 350 degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic.  Chop the pecans.

6.     Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan.  Add the milk, cocoa, and powdered sugar and whisk until glossy.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, salt and pecans.

7.     Loosen the cake with a knife or spatula and overturn it onto a serving plate.  Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, covering it thoroughly.  Don’t worry if some of the glaze pools inside and around the cake.  This cake will keep up to 3 days, covered, at room temperature and glaze just before serving.

The Seasons come quickly around here.

Changing up a table can be made simple. Often, you look into your cupboards and wonder how you could you possibly change things up for that next dinner party.  What you may not realize is that you do not have to go out and buy a whole new set of tableware to impress your guests.  Adding one new piece to what you already have could do the trick; a patterned  plate to fit the season,  a beautiful glass dessert bowl, or even a colorful water goblet. Think about mixing up your dishes, intermixing  pieces together can make for an interesting and fun table.  For some reason we are afraid to step out of the box and experiment with a more eclectic sense of style.

Striking Vietri Old St.Nick are hand made and painted in Italy

Striking Vietri Old St.Nick are hand made and painted in Italy

Pick plates according to what you are serving, be sure to think of how it looks on a particular plate. Presentation is everything, a simple presentation of food on a white plate can make any food stand out. 

When it comes to linens on the table you can have so many choices. I personally like square patterned ones for so that I can toss them over larger solid ones to give the table some visual interest. The size of the table will determine the amount of squares one might use.  Keep in mind that they do not have to be the same size or pattern.    That will all depend on how formal of a gathering your having.  Center pieces, should stay close to the table, not so high as to block the view of those across the table from you.  But then again, I like to make a statement with the table piece; making it fun, and sometimes overstated to wow them when they walk in.  Just have place on a buffet or piano that it can be moved easily to before the dinner starts.  Hopefully you can use a few of these tips and have fun.