photograph by Matt Hulsman

Cake

1 24-ounce bag Midstate Mills Tenda-Bake Maple Burst pancake mix
2½-3 cups buttermilk
¼ cup sifted cocoa

Ham and Redeye Gravy

2 heaping cups Phillips Brothers country ham trimmings
1 cup Larry’s Beans espresso coffee, brewed strong

Frosting

1 cup vegetable shortening
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1¼ cups cooked Phillips Brothers country ham trimmings

Redeye Gravy Drizzle

1½ cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons Appalachian maple syrup
½ cup redeye gravy
¼ cup Carolina Nut Cracker pecan pieces, toasted and chopped

Cake

In large bowl, stir together pancake mix, buttermilk and cocoa. 2. Cook pancakes in skillet according to package directions, making large-size cake layers about 8 inches in diameter. Let cool.

Ham and Redeye Gravy

Heat skillet on medium-high heat. Add country ham pieces with about 1 cup water to hot pan, and cook until water evaporates.

Once evaporated, continue cooking ham bits until crispy, about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove ham with slotted spoon, and set aside.

Add 1 cup strong coffee to ham drippings, and stir with whisk to scrape up any bits to make redeye gravy.

Bring to a boil, and cook several minutes to reduce by half.

Strain through coffee filter to remove dark bits, and cool.

Frosting

In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, cream shortening and butter. Add almond extract.

Gradually mix in sugar, 1 cup at a time, scraping sides and bottom of bowl several times.

Add milk and syrup, and continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

With spatula, fold 1¼ cups country ham bits into frosting.

Spread between pancake layers and on top, letting some drip down sides of cake.

Drizzle

Put all drizzle ingredients except pecans into a microwave-safe bowl.

Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until blended and pourable.

Cool slightly; drizzle over top of frosted cake.

Scatter toasted pecan pieces and remaining ham on top of cake.

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