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From "True Grits...Tall Tales and Recipes from the New South," published in cooperation with your Daily InBox newsletter.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CAKE:

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING:

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa

TO PREPARE THE CAKE:

Grease two 9-inch cake pans; line the bottoms with waxed paper and grease the paper. Melt the chocolate and butter in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring to blend well; remove from heat. Beat in the eggs with a wooden spoon. Stir in the sugar, milk, vanilla and salt.  Add the flour and baking powder; stir until smooth. Stir in the pecans.  Spoon into the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert the layers onto the rack; remove the waxed paper. Cool completely.

TO PREPARE THE FILLING:

Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat; remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners' sugar and then the milk. Chill for 1 hour or until of spreading consistency.

TO PREPARE THE FROSTING AND ASSEMBLE:

Combine the cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a large mixer bowl. Sift the baking cocoa over the top; stir to mix well. Chill for 30 minutes. Beat at high speed for 30 to 60 seconds or until stiff peaks form. Place 1 cake layer bottom side up on a cake plate. Spread with the filling. Place the second layer bottom side down over the filling. Spread the frosting over the top and side of the cake. Garnish with fruit slices or chocolate curls.

SERVES: 12

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