Friday, April 05, 2013

Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting and Pecan Praline

I recently offered to make a birthday cake for a friend. A quick poll of his favourite things steered me towards chocolate, salted caramel, pecans. This is sweet, rich and decadent, so if you aren't a dessert person, I would steer clear - I managed half a slice before giving up while my husband ate two slices at a time.

The base for this cake is the Silver Palate Cookbook Chocolate Decadence Cake

1 cup boiling water
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups less 2 Tbsp. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray 3 -  9 inch cake pans with no-stick spray, then flour. Knock out the excess flour and set aside.
In a large heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over the chocolate and butter. Let the mixture stand until melted.
Stir in the vanilla and sugar, then whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, until blended.
Mix the baking soda and the sour cream in a small bowl, and then whisk into the chocolate mixture.
Whisk the flour and baking powder in a small bowl, and then add to the chocolate mixture, mixing thoroughly.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Stir a quarter of the egg whites into the batter.
Scoop the remaining egg whites on top of the batter and gently fold them in until the batter is almost uniform in color.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges have pulled away from the pan and the cake tester inserted comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes; unmold and cool completely before frosting.

The Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting recipe came from the blog Baked Bree.
 I used Maldon salt because I like the crunch on the cake.

The pecan praline recipe was super simple and pretty much taken from - made slight modifications for my purposes


2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups pecan pieces and halves
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut in pieces
1 teaspoon coarse salt


Combine sugar and milk in a 2-quart saucepan; heat to boiling stirring constantly. Cook until mixture reaches soft ball consistency (235°).Remove from heat; stir in pecans, vanilla, and butter. Immediately pour onto a non stick surface (I used a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick). Sprinkle with salt and allow to cool.

I am not sure if pecan praline is supposed to turn out this way. but mine was a creamy, slightly crumbly texture. I loved it!

I also made candied pecans for coating the outside of the cake - I don't really have a recipe, its just sugar brought to caramel stage, nuts stirred in, spread on a nonstick surface and salted. Once cooled and crunchy, I chopped them fine.

Okay, all the components are accounted for - assembly time!

I used a springform pan to help build the structure of the cake - one that is the exact size of my cake rounds. I cut any domed sections off the cake rounds so that I had 3 perfectly flat discs. After I popped the first round in the pan, I spread a thin layer of frosting, then topped it off with a good handful of crumbled praline. I then added more cream cheese frosting to level out the layer. I repeated this step with the next layer and finished with the final cake round. It went into the fridge to chill overnight.
The next day, I released the cake from the springform pan and transferred it to a good solid cake board. After slathering it with cream cheese frosting, I carefully pressed chopped candied pecans into the side of the cake.