New Orleans Double-Chocolate Praline-Fudge Cake from Southern Living

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Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. What could be better? Plus the praline? It’s like the sweet-salty smooth-crunchy cake. I actually have a funny story about this cake. See, I was making for the second time for my grandmother’s birthday, so it was late Decemberish. It’s a three layer cake. So. I had just finished baking all the layers and transferred them to wire racks. My mom moved them over to the window sill to cool.

Bad idea. Window sills are not strong. So one of the layers ended up doing a bit of a flop on my deck. It’s a sad night when you have to demote a three layer cake to being a two layer cake. Good news is, my mom was making a vanilla cake the next weekend and the same thing happened to her ;). You would have expected us to learn our lesson. But no. Anyways, it made a fun couple of nights late night baking with mom. She taught me all I know about food and baking, so I always love being in the kitchen with her. Until we get in each other’s way. Then things can get a liiiiiitle tricky 😀 But that usually doesn’t happen.

Anyways, yes, the cake! One of the best cakes you’ll ever make! It takes a while to make it, but it is completely worth it. Without further ado:

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Part 1: Assembly of the cake

Preheat over to 350 F. Grease the bottoms of 3 8″ round cake pans and line them with wax paper. Grease and flour the wax paper sides of pans. So basically it’s butter-wax paper-butter-flour.

Cook the butter/margarine, cocoa, and water in a heavy bottom metal pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat to cool. Beat the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla with a mixer until smooth. Add the butter mixture to the buttermilk mixture, beating until blended ***remember, the butter mixture should be cooled off before you add it to the buttermilk mixture. If not, the eggs will curdle. Scrambled eggs are bad in this case.*** Combine the sugar, flour, and salt, gradually add to the buttermilk mixture. Beat until thoroughly blended. Southern Living warns that the batter will be thin, and that’s okay. Just pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Let sit in pans for a little bit before flipping them out, about 10 minutes. Then flip em, remove the wax paper, and cool completely on wire racks. Tip: don’t put them in the windowsill. The layers will be thin but that’s okay because there’s also the chocolate ganache that goes between the layers to fill em up a little bit. Speaking of which…

Ingredients for chocolate ganache:

  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels (aka chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut into pieces.

Part 2: Making the ganache

Microwave the chocolate morsels and cream on medium for 2-3  minutes until they are melted. Check the chocolate chips as they heat in the microwave to make sure they don’t burn! Stir until all the morsels blend together and they are smooth. Gradually add in the butter, whisking until smooth. Cool, whisking often, for about 25 minutes so the ganache reaches spreading consistency. It should yield about 2 cups. This is where you start putting your cake together! Once the layers are cooled, put it together by laying one layer out on a plate, put some chocolate ganache on top, then comes the other layer, ganache, then the final layer, ganache. Don’t use too much for the filling because you still need to have enough ganache to frost the outside!

Ingredients for Praline Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted**

Part 3: Making the praline.

**Note on how to toast pecans. Set the oven to 350. Chop pecans. Roast them for about 5 minutes, but keep an eye on them because they burn really easily really quickly. Take out of oven and let cool.

Bring the butter, light brown sugar, and whipping cream to a boil in a heavy bottom pan. Stir often as it boils for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the toasted pecans, stirring gently for 3-5 minutes or until the frosting becomes cool and thickens slightly. Pour the frosting over the cake immediately. Let the frosting harden a little before serving.

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