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Southern Take on Chocolate Cake

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So I think it's pretty clear now... Kara and I don't mess around when it comes to knocking your taste buds off their feet (...if taste buds had feet). Here is our finial of the "Duff Till Dawn Trio", the DE-LISH "Southern Take on Chocolate Cake".

This light chocolate cake is soaked in bourbon simple syrup, filled with caramel buttercream and topped with bourbon candied pecans! Kara put it all into one amazing package tied together with butter and sugar. *pssst* Change your house pants before you rush out to the store, silly 😉

Find the other two flavors of the trio:

If you missed Kara (from Kara's Couture Cakes) and my episode, get your copy of our episode of Duff Till Dawn on Food Network from iTunes here: Duff Till Dawn, Season 1

Candied Pecans

Bourbon Candied Pecans

Recipe TypeFilling


  • 8 oz. Chopped pecans
  • 4 oz. Brown Sugar
  • 1 oz. Water
  • 2 TBSP Whiskey
  • 1 TBSP Butter


  • Combine water, whiskey, and sugar in a medium sauce pan and cook to 234°F.
  • Remove from heat and add pecans.
  • Stir continuously and quickly to coat all nuts with sugar; they will begin to crystallize and should separate rather than clump.
  • Place the pan back over medium heat and stir continuously. This will toast the nuts as the sugar begins to caramelize.
  • Add butter to the nuts once the sugar has caramelized and coat evenly.
  • Pour the caramelized pecans out onto a silicone baking mat and spread out, separating them into individual pieces or small groupings as much as possible while they cool.
  • Once cooled, chill in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from refrigeration and chop with a chef’s knife to small, bite sized pieces.


Candied Pecans

Chopped Pecans

And last but not least, the buttercreamy goodness!

Kara’s Salted Caramel American Buttercream

Recipe TypeFilling
Yield:4 cups


  • 1 cup 8oz; 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, - room temps
  • 3.5 cups Confectioners’powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste*
  • 2 tsp Caramel Flavor Paste
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt - flaked
  • 2 TBSP or till desired consistency Heavy Cream**


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Stop the mixer and add all confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste, caramel flavoring, and sea salt. Mix on medium speed until well combined and light. Scrape down the sides.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add cream one TBSP at a time till desired consistency.
  • Scrape down sides one more time and beat on medium speed for one minute.


* you can use extract if you do not have paste
** you can use whole or reduced fat milk in place of heavy cream, but come on, you're already eating rich cake. just go all the way. 🙂

Bourbon Simple Syrup



  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 3 TBSP Bourbon


  • Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pot and remove from heat as soon as boil is reached.
  • Allow to cool before brushing on your cake.


(yes, the alcohol cooks out and only leaves the flavor behind. the kiddos won't get schnockered on this cake.)

Layer this goodness up and enjoy! I prefer to refrigerate for just a bit before cutting.

Southern Chocolate Cake


Guess what else we have for you?! All those hard to find delicious pastes (we use them in all the Duff Till Dawn Trio of recipes)

 Published: 03/10/2015

Last modified on January 19th, 2021

meet the author


Avalon Yarnes is multi-award winning cake artist and educator. Her work has been featured on tv shows, in magazines, books and more. She has been named one of the top 10 Cake Artists in America by Cake Masters Magazine and Dessert Professional Magazine. She's always cooking up something innovative that she can share with her students. Learn with Avalon here inside Avalon Cakes Online School of Sugar Art, where her (and her friends) teach you how to make incredible art with of cakes, cookies and more!

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I'm Avalon -- and I'm not your typical cake decorator. I'm obsessed with fusing the world of ART and CAKE. Sugar is my canvas. If you're down to get messy and dive into a whole new level of cake, take my virtual hand, cause I've got so many secrets I want to show you! learn more>>

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