Sunday, June 24, 2012

CHOCOLATE PRALINE CAKE: National Praline Day

Today is National Praline DayLast year I posted several chocolate praline recipes. You can actually eat pralines in several different incarnations--or even drink your pralines, as in Praline Pecan Liqueur.

Another easy way to get your praline fix today (with chocolate) would be to eat some Praline or Butter Pecan Ice Cream with a covering of chocolate syrup. Hence the Vintage Ad from 1951 for Borden's Praline Pecan Ice Cream. But another variation on Pralines would be Chocolate Praline Cake. See below for two recipes.. one  is a traditional three tier chocolate cake with Ganache Filling and Praline Frosting, and the other a Chocolate Bundt Cake with Praline Frosting. With both cakes, it's all about the Praline frosting. 

So what is Praline?
1) a confection of nuts and sugar: as in almonds cooked in boiling sugar until brown and crisp
2) a patty of creamy brown sugar and pecan meats

The original praline was a sweet confection made of almonds and some sort of creamy sugary caramelized coating. Lots of stories about how the Praline came to New Orleans and the South. One is that Pralines were first made in the home of 17th century French diplomat Cesar du Plessis Praslin by one of his chefs. The name "Praslin" eventually evolved into "praline." I don't buy that story since they were already popular in Europe in a slightly different version. Another story is that pralines were brought over from France by the Ursuline nuns, who settled in New Orleans in 1727. This makes sense since Pralines were already in the French tradition. Almonds were in short supply, so cooks began substituting the nuts of the native Louisiana pecan trees, thus the modern pecan pralines were born. Praline pecans were known as individual pecans covered in the sugary coating. The new pecan pralines quickly spread throughout New Orleans and became a common confection in the area.

Because New Orleans was a thriving port, people from all over the world came through, and the praline spread with them. Many people are unaware of the candy’s historical origin, and the praline is thought of as a southern confection not necessarily specific to New Orleans. Some believe the pecan praline is a Texan candy, whereas others assume it came from Savannah. The pronunciation of the candy is a bit of a point of contention as well. In New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, where there are many communities settled by the French, the pronunciation is prah-leen, with the long aaah sound, which is closer to that of the candy’s namesake du Plessis-Praslin. Other regions of the country, including parts of Texas, Georgia, and New England have anglicized the term and pronounce it pray-leen. Other terms for pralines include pecan pralines, pecan candy, plarines and pecan patties.

Go here for Praline Candy Recipes.

So my motto today is "Let Them Eat Cake" since I'm more of a cake baker than candy maker.

This first recipe is one of my go-to Chocolate Bundt Cake, but any good chocolate bundt cake will work. It's all in the frosting. As a matter of fact a good sour cream or yogurt chocolate bundt cake would be great, too.

CHOCOLATE PRALINE BUNDT CAKE 

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons Instant Coffee Granules (I use Starbucks instant espresso packs)
7 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% Cacao), chopped
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
3 large eggs

FOR CAKE:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan.
Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl. Bring water and coffee granules to boil in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until smooth.
Beat sugar, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture.
Pour into prepared Bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until long wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
Place on plate. Pour Praline Frosting over the top of the cake letting it drip down the sides.

PRALINE FROSTING  (from Southern Living, see below for link)

 Ingredients
1/4 cup sweet butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preparation 
Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, and boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Stir in toasted pecans, stirring gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thicken slightly.
Pour immediately over cake.
Photo: Southern Living Chocolate Praline Cake. Beautiful!

CHOCOLATE PRALINE CAKE

This is my favorite "real" Chocolate Praline Cake. It's from Southern Living, November 2001, and I'm so glad I found it again on the internet, my copy having been stashed inside a cookbook, somewhere. This recipe is all about the praline candy frosting! Yummy... on this cake or just about any chocolate cake!

Ingredients
1 cup butter
1/4 cup DARK cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Ganache
Praline Frosting
Garnish: pecan halves  

Preparation
Cook first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and mixture is smooth; remove butter mixture from heat.
Beat buttermilk, 2 eggs, baking soda, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add butter mixture to buttermilk mixture, beating until well blended.
Combine sugar, flour, and salt; gradually add to buttermilk mixture, beating until blended.
Coat 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with cooking spray, and line pans with wax paper. Pour cake batter evenly into pans.
Bake at 350° for 18 to 22 minutes or until cake is set. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.
Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread about 1/2 cup Chocolate Ganache between cake layers, and spread remaining ganache on sides of cake.
Pour Praline Frosting slowly over the center of cake, gently spreading to edges, allowing some frosting to run over sides.
Garnish with pecan halves

Chocolate Ganache 
Ingredients 
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

Preparation 
Microwave chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a glass bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 to 3 minutes or until morsels are melted. Whisk until smooth.
Gradually add butter, whisking until smooth.
Cool, whisking often, 15 minutes or until spreading consistency.

Praline Frosting 
Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preparation 
Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, and boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Stir in toasted pecans, stirring gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thicken slightly.
Pour immediately over cake.


2 comments:

yummychunklet said...

Ooh, what a great cake. Now for some praline ice cream on the side...

Rosita Vargas said...

Woooow...una gran receta de lujo me encanta,saludos y abrazos hugs,hugs.