Note: Jim Dodge is one of the world's great bakers. One day he dropped in to The Times' Test Kitchen to show off his latest book, "Baking With Jim Dodge." Flipping through the pages, he casually mentioned that this Bourbon-Chocolate-Pecan Cake travels well. "It's a cake I ship all around the country," he said. What he failed to mention, however, is that it is one of the greatest chocolate cakes any of us has ever tasted. It contains no flour or ground nuts and it keeps well. On top of that, it's easy to make.
2 cups pecans
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup bourbon
Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast in 350-degree oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Cut circle of parchment to fit bottom of 9-inch round cake pan. Butter pan well and line with parchment circle.
Melt 1/2 pound butter and chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water. Stir until very smooth. Cool.
Mix sugar, cocoa powder and eggs just until well combined. Add melted chocolate, stirring to combine. Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups pecans and stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in bourbon.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Place pan inside larger pan and pour hot water to level of 1 inch in outer pan. Bake at 350 degrees until cake is firm to touch, about 45 minutes. (Cake surface may crack slightly.)
Cool cake on wire rack, then remove from pan, leaving parchment paper attached. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove cake from refrigerator and place upside down on wire rack with sheet of wax paper underneath to catch drips. Peel off parchment circle, then drizzle spoonfuls of Glaze along sides of cake. When sides are completely covered, spoon remaining Glaze on top of cake and smooth with icing spatula.
Cover sides of cake with remaining 1/2 cup pecans, chopped if desired, pressing gently against Glaze. Refrigerate cake until 1/2 hour before serving. Makes 12 servings.
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/4 pound unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler over simmering water. Stir until completely smooth. Cool about 5 minutes.
Each serving contains about: 633 calories; 36 mg sodium; 168 mg cholesterol; 49 grams fat; 48 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.88 grams fiber; 70% calories from fat.