Chocolate Pecan Torte
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Four layers of chocolate indulgence, an impressive dessert that is perfect for special or holiday dinners. The chocolate and pecans are baked into a delicious nutty torte, and then each layer is split in half. The layers are filled and frosted with a decadent chocolate whipped cream; then finished with a rich chocolate glaze. Add a few pecan halves and chocolate curls before serving to make this delicious cake even prettier.

Lyle’s Golden syrup, imported from Britain, is pure cane sugar syrup with a mild caramel flavor. It is available in grocery stores and online at the Kitchen and Baking Store
Recipe type: Dessert | Cake | Chocolate
Serves: 10 to 12
  • 1½ cups ground pecans
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar, divided
Whipped Cream Filling and Frosting:
  • 1½ cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups whipping (heavy) cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Glaze:
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • ¼ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Garnish (optional):
  • Pecan halves
  • Small block of chocolate (milk chocolate, bittersweet, or semisweet) for chocolate curls
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare two 9 inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust the pan with flour.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ground pecans, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir the water and vanilla together. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer beat the egg yolks on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until they are thick and pale colored.
  4. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add 1 cup of sugar to the egg yolks, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 3 to 5 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the eggs and sugar are fully incorporated.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the water mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and water mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended. Set aside.
  6. In another large mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter, and then fold the remaining egg whites in.
  7. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched, or a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling. (While baking the cake rises, and then collapses while cooling.)
Whipped Cream Filling and Frosting:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until soft mounds form; gradually add the sugar and cocoa, and vanilla, continue beating until thick and stiff. Tip: the cream will whip easier if the mixing bowl and beaters are first chilled; place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to whip the cream.
  3. Use a long kitchen knife to split each cake into 2 horizontal layers. Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula spread about ½ inch layer of the whipped cream over the top. Top with the remaining cake layers, coating the top of each with the whipped cream, and then covering the sides and top of the cake. Spread the cream as smooth as possible over the top and sides.
  4. Refrigerate the cake at least one hour to stabilize the whipped cream before glazing.
Chocolate Glaze:
  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan over medium low heat, heat the cream until it is hot and just beginning to steam. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Add Lyle’s Golden Syrup and vanilla, stirring until completely mixed.
  3. Pour the chocolate mixture into a small pitcher, or liquid measuring cup with a pouring spout and let chocolate glaze cool for 10 minutes. Do not let the glaze sit longer than 10 minutes because it will thicken and become difficult to pour over the cake.
  4. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake. Cover the top of the cake entirely, letting some of the glaze drizzle down the sides, and allowing some of the whipped cream to show through the drizzles around the side of the cake. Tip: If the glaze doesn’t flow easily it means it has cooled and thickened too much. Slightly reheat the glaze in a saucepan over low heat.
  5. Refrigerate the cake, uncovered, until the glaze is set and the whipped cream frosting is firm, at least one hour.
Garnish (optional):
  1. Before serving, sprinkle top of cake with pecan halves and chocolate curls. Slice the cake with a long serrated knife, cleaning the knife between each slice. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.
Chocolate Curls:
  1. Place a small block of chocolate (milk chocolate, bittersweet, or semisweet) wrapped in a paper towel, in the microwave oven. Microwave for 10 seconds on the defrost cycle. Turn the block over and microwave again for 10 seconds.
  2. Handle the chocolate with a piece of paper towel so that it doesn’t touch your hands (the heat from your hand will melt the chocolate.) Scrape a vegetable peeler along the bar; scrape towards you, shaving the chocolate off into curls. If the chocolate seems too cold and hard and is not forming curls, return the chocolate to the microwave for a few seconds longer. Tip: the curls are fragile and will break easily if you pick them up with your fingers. Instead, use a thin spatula or toothpick to lift the curls and gently place them on the cake.
Source: Baking Illustrated, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, 2004; The Taste of Home Fall Baking Cookbook, Reiman Media Group, Wisconsin, 2009; Walter, Carole, Great Cakes, Random House, New York, 1991; Wolter, Annette, Teubner, Christian, Best of Baking, Fisher Publishing, 1980
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two 9" Round Layers Pan Prep: Greased and Floured Oven Temp: 375° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Tip: Lyle’s Golden Syrup has a marvelous caramel flavor that enhances the chocolate. However, you can substitute light corn syrup in place of the Lyle’s golden syrup

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Chocolate Types, Melting Chocolate

TheBakingPan Recommends: The BEST instant read thermometer I’ve used for cooking and baking; the ThermoWorks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is incredibly fast, ThermoWorks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapenaccurate, and well worth the investment. I use my Thermapen Thermometer for checking room temperature ingredients, tempering chocolate, baking bread, making pastry creams, sugar syrup, caramel, and candy, cooking meats and fish, and deep frying. Thermapen Thermometer available here.
Recipe by at