Monday, January 30, 2012

Paula Deen's Pecan Praline Cake

This cake quickly became a family favorite after the first time I made it.

But, for fear of heart attack, we only rarely indulge in the pleasure of eating it.  See, I picked up Paula's magazine because I know she doesn't mess around with trying to lower fat or calories in any of her recipes.  She goes all out.  Go full flavor or stay home must be her motto.

Or at least it was up until recently.

And full flavor this cake is.  Rich and decadent are the words that quickly come to mind when recalling the taste of this cake.  And in true southern style she throws in a few shots of Bourbon Whiskey for flavoring.  Can I get a Yee Haw!!?

So why do I refer to this cake as the Heart Attack Cake?  Between the cake and the frosting and the simple syrup let's look at the stats.

  • 6 sticks of butter (that's 1 1/2 pounds of butter)
  • 3 cups of brown sugar + 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 whole eggs + egg whites for the SMBC

Enough already, I know, here are the recipes.

Pecan Praline Cake
From: Paula Deen's Best Desserts magazine

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
1 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
1 T. vanilla extract
Praline Cake Syrup
Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Paula's Cream-cheese Brown Sugar Frosting.  Both are divine.

PREHEAT oven to 350 deg F.  Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans.
BEAT butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, in a large bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.  Gradually add flour to butter mixture in 3 batches alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour, beating just until combined.  Scrape down sides of bowl thoroughly.
ADD the vanilla and mix on low until well combined.
DIVIDE batter evenly between the prepared pans.
BAKE for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick insert in the center comes out clean.
LET cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
DON'T panic if you see dark, sticky spots on the bottom of your cakes.  It just wasn't mixed completely and some of the brown sugar settled to the bottom.

Brush the tops of the cake layers with Praline Cake Syrup.  Spread frosting of choice evenly between the layers and on top and sides of cake.  Store left-overs in refrigerator.

Praline Syrup
makes about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup water
3 T. granulated sugar
1 T. Bourbon Whiskey (I have a bottle of Wild Turkey that I cook with)

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Cream Cheese - Brown Sugar Frosting (this is the recipe Paula had accompany this cake in the magazine. I used a brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream which I botched when I tried to add some cream cheese to honor Ms. Deen.)
Makes about 5 cups
1 cup butter, softened and divided
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (if you use dark brown sugar the color and flavor of your frosting will be much deeper.
1 T. Bourbon Whiskey
1 T. water
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
6 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

MELT 1/2 cup butter over meduem heat in a medium saucepan; add brown sugar, bourbon and water.  Increase heat to med-high and bring mixture to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constatnly.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
BEAT remaining 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese on medium speed in large bowl of mixer until creamy.
ADD brown sugar mixture, beating until combined.  Gradually add confectioner's sugar, beating until smooth.  Stir in pecans.

And I thought I'd practice my piping while I was at it.

Clearly I need to practice some more.  Cake anyone?

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