Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Recipe #49: Brown Sugar, Sour Cream, Cream Cheese Pecan Cake with Praline Icing

Ya, ya...I know it sounds like a zillion calories, and it probably is...but this cake is worth making every once in awhile when you want something with depth, yet is not super sugary, but has a lot of elements and subtle flavors that bring it all together.  It is a lovely cake, and if everyone you are serving this to is a fan of the ingredients below, they will sing you their praises.

1 cup chopped pecans                                          2 sticks butter, softened
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened                     1 16 oz box dark brown sugar
4 large eggs                                                            2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder                                             1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt                                                              1 8 oz container sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract                                              brown sugar icing
candied pecans

Place the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Bake at 350 for 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted, (they should be fragrant after taking them out of the oven).  Cool on pan for about 15 minutes.  Reduce oven to 325.  Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with mixer until creamy.  Gradually add brown sugar, beating until well blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Stir in pecans and vanilla.  Spoon batter into a greased and floured tube or bundt pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack.  Cool completely before icing.  You will want to prepare the icing right before you put on the cake.  Bon appetit!

BROWN SUGAR ICING

1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar        1 stick plus 2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk                                                              1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring sugar, butter and milk to a boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Boil for 1 minute, continuing to whisk.  Remove from heat and whisk in sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Stir every few minutes until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly.  Ice cake immediately.  The icing can be somewhat fickle.  If you don't cool enough, it will run down the cake onto the plate.  If you cool too much, it won't run down the cake.  One time I put the pan in a bowl of ice water, and after a minute, it was just right.  But, I decided to put it back for another minute, and then it was too thick.  In this case, you should put pan back on a low flame for a few minutes, whisking to bring back to a thinner consistency.

CANDIED PECANS

1/3 cup brown sugar                                          1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt                                                           about 16 whole pecan pieces

Whisk brown sugar, cream and salt in a bowl.  Add pecans and stir until completely coated.  Place individual pecans on parchment lined pan and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes-15 minutes, until pecans look crusty.  Do not turn over.  Remove from oven.  Pick up each pecan and put on another piece of parchment...they will harden in a few minutes.  After icing cake, you can chop nuts or place whole on top of cake.  




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