Chocolate Pecan Torte with Strawberry Butter Cream Noreen & Marion

1/4 cup (1 & 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
8 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces imported bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
3 & 1/2 cups pecan halves, very finely ground

Strawberry Butter Cream (see recipe below)
Easy Chocolate Glaze (see recipe link below)

7 -8 medium strawberries, unhulled and halved lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter four 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment. Using electric mixer, cream 3/4 cup butter until light. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and salt. Using rubber spatula, stir in chocolate, then pecans. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out fudgy but not wet, about 22 minutes (top may crack). Cool in pans on racks 5 minutes. Run knife around edges of cakes. Invert onto racks. Discard parch- ment. Cool layers completely. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Wrap each layer separately with plastic and refrigerate.)

Arrange one cake layer bottom-side up on platter. Slide strips of waxed paper under cake (this will keep platter neat during glazing). Spread 2/3 cup Straw- berry Butter cream over layer. Repeat with remaining layers and butter cream, ending with cake bottom side up. Pat layers to even. Cover and refrigerate torte for at least 6 hours.

Cut edges of cake with serrated knife to even if necessary. Pour glaze over cake; smooth over sides and top. Discard waxed paper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead and refrigerated.) Arrange strawberries around top edge of torte, cut side down. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Strawberry Butter Cream: makes about 2 1/2 cups
1 & 1/4 cups (2 & 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened slightly
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup pureed fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons strawberry preserves
Using electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in yolks, then pureed berries and preserves. Cover tightly and refrigerate until set. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.) Soften butter cream at room temperature until spreadable.

Best Chocolate Glaze: (Laurie's recipe)

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