Friday, January 4, 2013

Double Chocolate Praline Fudge Cake

I know I'm probably posting this recipe a little late since we are into diet season now, but just save it for later.  Plus, there's a funny story to go along with it.  My Mom was getting rid of some books and magazines and I carried home a Gooseberry Patch Christmas Cookbook.  This cake sounded good so I decided to make it for Christmas.  For some reason, I had a lot of trouble in the kitchen those couple of days leading up to Christmas.  I tried to make some candy that I'd made before and it flopped.  My candy thermometer wasn't working, so I used the soft ball stage test, but it still didn't set up.  I was disappointed.  Then I decided to make mini pecan pies for Christmas Eve dessert.  I have been wanting the Breville Mini Pie Maker for over a year.  I got an email the other day that Williams-Sonoma was having a one day sale and it was at it's lowest price ever, plus there was a code for free shipping.  I couldn't pass it up.  My first mistake was waiting until Christmas Eve to try it.  My next mistake was using homemade pie dough.  I remember a sales lady telling me months and months ago that it works best with store bought crust, but I'm sometimes stubborn about that, so I made my own.  Well, you have to be REALLY fast getting those little crust rounds into the machine, the filling poured, and the lid down, because it starts cooking immediately and the the crust will shrink down into the hole if you don't.  It was such a big mess.  The crusts were shrinking down into the hole before I could get the filling in and I was jumping up and down in the kitchen screaming, NO! please NO!  This is our Christmas Eve dessert! And Addie is watching me and laughing.  My father-in-law who drove over for the night, is sitting on the couch hearing it all.  Then after 10 minutes, I lift the lid and the crusts are burned and the filling is not set.  I'm panicking, so I roll out another crust and just do a normal pie the old-fashioned way.  Next, I'm trying out a green bean dish and the last step is to broil it for a few minutes to brown the top.  Well, I blackened the top.  So I had to try and scrape that off.  Lastly, we get to the cake.  It called for buttermilk, which I thought I had bought.  But of course I didn't.  I bought 1%.  I never buy 1%!  So I had to make my own buttermilk using vinegar.  Also, I have 9 inch round cake pans, not 8, so when the cakes were cooling, they looked a little thin.  Addie walks in and says, "That's the flattest cake I've ever seen."  Then my father-in-law walks in and says "I must be doing something wrong, because when I make cakes, they usually came out yay big."  (He's holding up his thumb and finger with about a 4 inch space in between).  At this point, I just want to cry.  But I don't.  Thankfully, after it was assembled with the filling and icing, it looked fine and it tasted MAGNIFICENT!  It was a little involved, but oh, so worth it!  The praline icing was divine.  Everyone loved it.  So the moral of this story is, there will be disasters and hecklers in the kitchen once in awhile, but don't give up.  You'll end up with a winner now and again.

Double Chocolate Praline Fudge Cake

1 c butter
1/4 c baking cocoa
1 c water
1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 c sugar
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Chocolate Ganache
Praline Frosting

Cook first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and mixture is smooth; remove from heat. Cool.  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 blended.  Combine sugar, flour, and salt; gradually add to buttermilk mixture, beating until blended. (Batter will be thin).  Coat 3 (8") round cake pans with cooking spray; line with parchment paper.  Pour batter evenly into pans.  Bake at 350 for 22 to 24 minutes or until set.  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Spread about 1/2 cup ganache between cake layers; spread remainder on sides and top of cake.  Chill cake 1/2 hour.  Pour frosting slowly over top of cake, spreading to edges, allowing some frosting to run over sides. 

Chocolate Ganache

2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 c whipping cream
1/4 c butter, cut into pieces

Microwave chocolate chips and cream in a glass bowl on medium power 2 to 3 minutes or until chips are melted.  Whisk until smooth.  Gradually add butter, whisking until smooth.  Cool, whisking often, 15 to 20 minutes until spreading consistency.

Praline Frosting

1/4 c butter
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1/3 c whipping cream
1 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c chopped pecans, toasted

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often; boil one minute.  Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add toasted pecans, stirring gently 2 to 5 minutes or until frosting begins to cool and thicken slightly.  Pour immediately over cake.

Here's another picture of this scrumptious cake on the brunch table at Mom's Christmas morning.

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