Applesauce Pecan Cake

1 package butter recipe golden cake mix
½ cup unsalted butter; softened
1⅓ cups applesauce
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2½ ounces Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
1 recipe Mocha Frosting1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease and flour 2, 9-inch-by-1½-inch round cake pans.
2. Put dry cake mix, butter, applesauce, eggs and cinnamon into large mixer bowl. Beat for 4 minutes at medium speed.
3. Stir in pecans. Turn batter into pans and spread evenly.
4. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Frost with Mocha Frosting.

Mocha Frosting
4 large egg whites
¾ cups sugar
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ pounds unsalted butter (3 sticks)
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
1½ teaspoons water
2 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate squares1. Whisk egg whites, sugar, 2 tablespoons water and cream of tartar in a large, stainless steel bowl.
2. Set the bowl in a large skillet filled with 1 inch of simmering water. The depth of the water should be as high as the depth of the egg whites in the bowl.
3. Beat the egg whites at low speed until the mixture registers 140ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Do not stop beating at any time while the bowl is in the simmering water.
4. Beat the mixture at high speed until it just reaches 160ºF, about 2 to 4 minutes.
5. Remove the bowl from the skillet.
6. Add vanilla and beat at high speed for 3 to 5 more minutes to cool the mixture.
7. Using another bowl beat the butter until creamy.
8. Take a large scoop of the egg white mixture and beat it into the butter until it is well combined. Continue to beat in about half of the egg white mixture in large scoops.
9. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the mixture and beat until fluffy. Set aside.
10. Melt semisweet chocolate in the top of a double boiler over boiling water. Let cool to lukewarm. While the chocolate cools, dissolve instant coffee in 1½ teaspoons water and stir into frosting mixture.
11. Stir cooled chocolate into frosting with a rubber spatula. Use frosting immediately.

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