Shelby Costo, owner of Sweet Costo in Lakewood, uses salt in her salted chocolate pecan pound cake to pull out flavors. “Salt reduces bitterness and increases sweet flavors,” she says. “I put a bit in everything.”
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream 1 cup room-temperature butter and 1 cup brown sugar until completely smooth. Mix in 4 eggs and whisk until smooth. Add 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/3 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon espresso, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/8 teaspoon chile powder and fold with a rubber spatula until combined. Spray a loaf pan or line the bottom with parchment paper and fill with batter. Drizzle 1/2 cup melted pecan butter over top. Bake for 55 minutes. Let cool at least 1 hour. Run a butterknife or offset spatula around the pan to loosen the sides, flip your pan upside down over a plate and flip back over to frost. Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons milk and 1 tablespoon pecan butter and pour over loaf cake. Decorate with 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans, 1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate chunks or chips and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.