Pecan Layer Cake with Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Ganache

Two 6-inch layers or one 8-inch cake

One of our favorite bean-to-bar chocolate shops is down the street from our kitchen, and this cake is inspired by the owners’ flavors of traditional Mexican chocolate. They take the cacao beans from their southern Mexican plantation and create the deepest, most nuanced chocolate we’ve ever had. Laurel keeps a bar in her purse at all times. Inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, this cake is spiced with cayenne and cinnamon and made with pecan flour. The lovely heat cuts through the mellow sweetness of the nuts. You can add as much or as little spice as you like, but we prefer this cake with a kick.


  • 1∕3 cup coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Mexican Hot Chocolate Ganache


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 6-inch cake pans or one 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper rounds, then grease the sides of the pans with coconut oil.

In a food processor, pulse the pecans until they reach the consistency of nut flour. Be careful not to pulse too much, or it will turn into nut butter. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk together with the baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until a batter forms.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert the cakes onto racks and allow to cool completely.

Place one layer on a cake plate and top with 1/2 cup of the ganache, smoothing it evenly over the entire surface. Add the second cake layer, top with another 1/2 cup ganache, and smooth. For an 8-inch cake, you can cover the entire cake with the ganache. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe courtesy of the Sweet Laurel cookbook, by Laurel Callucci and Claire Thomas (Clarkson Potter, 2018). This incredible grain-free cookbook by the founders of Sweet Laurel whole foods baking company is chock full of recipes that use just a few high-quality, whole ingredients to create decadent desserts that benefit your body. All of the recipes are Paleo and the book includes vegan and raw options, too. Indulge guilt free this holiday season with these gorgeous treats.