Caramel-Filled Butter Pecan Cake

1 cup shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 recipe Caramel Filling
1 recipe Butter Cream Frosting
1 cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
Pecan Valley Pecan Halves for garnish 1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Cream shortening; gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition. Stir in flavorings.
3. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans, and line with wax paper; grease wax paper. Pour batter into prepared pans.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
6. Spread Caramel Filling between layers and on top of cake.
7. Spread Butter Cream Frosting on sides of cake.
8. Press chopped pecans into frosting on sides of cake.
9. Garnish top with pecan halves.

Yield: one 3 layer cake

Caramel Filling
3 cups granulated sugar; divided
¾ cups milk
1 egg; beaten
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter or margarine; cut up1. In a heavy saucepan sprinkle ½ cup sugar; place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and syrup is light golden brown.
2. In a bowl, combine remaining 2½ cups sugar, milk, egg, and salt stirring well; stir in butter.
3. Stir butter mixture into hot caramelized sugar. (The mixture will tend to lump, becoming smooth with further cooking.) Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until a candy thermometer registers 230ºF (15 to 20 minutes).
4. Cool 5 minutes. Beat with a wooden spoon to almost spreading consistency, and spread between layers and on top of cake.

Yield: about 2½ cup.

Butter Cream Frosting
⅓ cup unsalted butter or margarine; softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons to 3 tablespoons half and half
½ teaspoon vanilla extract1. Cream butter at medium speed of an electric mixer; gradually add sugar alternately with half and half, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Yield: about 1½ cup

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