Chocolate-Pecan Cake with Cherimoya Custard Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    10 to 12


Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

Cherimoyas are also known as custard apples. They have an outer greenish to greenish-black skin and are eaten with the seeds discarded. They have a sweet flavor that resembles a blend of strawberries and pineapple. For desserts they must have achieved a perfect ripeness.


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces (squares) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 10½ ounces (squares) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup toasted or roasted pecans, chopped
  • Cherimoya Custard Sauce


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter the inside of a 9-inch cake pan. Place a round of parchment or wax paper, cut to fit, in the bottom of the pan. Butter the round of paper. Add about 1 tablespoon flour to the buttered pan and shake it around to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Shake out excess.
  • Combine the cream and 4 tablespoons butter and bring to the simmer. When the mixture starts to bubble, add the chocolate and stir around the bottom and sides until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and let stand.
  • Break the eggs into a heatproof earthenware or metal mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Place the bowl over—not in—a basin of simmering water, beating the egg mixture vigorously with a wire whisk.
  • After about 1 minute, when the eggs are warm and not overly heated, remove the bowl from the basin of simmering water and start beating with an electric mixer. Continue beating until the mixture is tripled in volume and reaches room temperature, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Scrape about one-third of the chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add about one-third of the egg mixture and blend well with a spatula. Add the remaining egg mixture and fold it in. Fold in the remaining chocolate mixture and stir in the nuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth over the top. Set the cake pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water around the cake pan. Place in the oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it sit in its water bath about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the water bath and wipe off the bottom of the pan. Invert the cake onto a platter, remove the round of paper, and let stand to room temperature. Serve with cherimoya custard sauce.