Get ready for horse racing with this Derby Pie Cake! A buttery trio of cake layers has the luscious pecan and chocolate chip pie gooey filling and wrapped up with a silky chocolate frosting.
Derby season is just around the corner, and I had to think of someway to celebrate it in dessert form, the Derby Pie Cake does just that, fusing the cake and pie world!
Yes, I could’ve simply made a Derby Pie, but why not transform the flavors into a layer cake?
Here the buttery crust is translated into an equally buttery vanilla cake. Traditionally the pie’s filling is similar to pecan—sugar and corn syrup. However those ingredients, once hardened in the refrigerator, would be like slicing through bricks. Instead I turned to the egg yolk based filling paired with German Chocolate Cake. It’s softer texture, less sweet, and a perfect cake filling. Chocolate chips and toasted chopped pecans suspend in the custard to give an even chocolate pecan bite. And an optional a swig of bourbon spikes the filling with Kentucky flair!
The Derby Pie Cake is finished off with even more chocolate in the form of a light-as-air chocolate frosting. Though it’s a pain to switch out stand mixer attachments, yet whipping the frosting for a few minutes changes the texture and flavor completely. It takes on the quality of a silky Swiss meringue buttercream.
Getting a taste of horse racing is easy with this Derby Pie Cake!
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- For the Derby Butter Cake:
- 4 ½ cups cake flour
- 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
- 4 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon butter extract
- For the Derby Pie Filling:
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
- 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups chopped toasted pecans (toast pecans before chopping)
- For the Chocolate Frosting:
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 to 7 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed and room temperature
- For assembling the Derby Pie Cake:
- ½ cup chopped toasted pecans (toast pecans before chopping)
- 8 to 10 ounces of hot fudge sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer whisk together sugar, flour, baking power, salt, and baking soda. Fit mixer with a paddle attachment. Add cubed butter and oil and turn mixer on low to incorporate the fats into the dry ingredients, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down bowl, add sour cream and beat for 2 more minutes. In the meantime whisk eggs, buttermilk, and extracts together.
- With mixer on low add the egg mixture in two batches, beating 1 minute after each addition. Give the bowl and paddle a scrape.
- Divide batter between prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway. The cakes will be golden on the top and will begin to shrink away from the pan.
- Let cakes cool in pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, whisk egg yolks. Gradually whisk in evaporated milk, sugars, butter, and salt. Raise heat to medium-high and whisk constantly until frothy, almost boiling, and slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Transfer mixture into a heat-proof bowl. Whisk in vanilla and bourbon. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely before using. Once cool and ready to assemble the cake, fold in chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
- Beat butter until smooth about 30 seconds. Add cocoa powder, powdered sugar, salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Raise speed to medium-high and beat until smooth about 2 to 3 minutes. Lower speed, beat in cream cheese, a few cubes at a time, beating to incorporate. Scrape bowl and paddle as needed. Switch out paddle for whisk attachment and whip for 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high speed.
- Use a serrated knife to level off cake layers. Apply a bit of frosting to a cake board and secure the first cake layer. Pipe Chocolate Frosting around the perimeter of the of the cake. Fill in with Derby Pie Filling. Repeat with second layer, topping off with third layer. Apply crumb coat of Chocolate Frosting and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Apply a second, thicker, frosting layer, using a bench scraper to smooth the layer. Piper a border with remaining frosting. Drizzle down hot fudge, and garnish with remaining chopped pecans.