15 July 2013

My New Favorite -- Praline Sheet Cake

The lure of the oven has called me home.  I cannot resist her siren song and can't stay away for too long.  I get sort of homesick.  My first venture back to the oven was making this cake.  I am so glad this was my first project.  I cannot overstate how good this cake was.  I use the past tense because this cake is long gone.  All of my informal "taste testers" went nuts for this stuff.

look at the gooey, buttery yumminess

The only weird thing about this cake is that it doesn't really know what kind of cake it is.  It definitely has a praline flavor to it, but it also tastes a little of cocoa, a little of peanut, and a whole lot of brown sugar, which is primarily where the praline in the name comes from.  If you've ever had a Coca-Cola cake, the cake part of this is similar.  The icing is totally different from the typical cola cake icing.  It's pure toffee-praline-buttery-peanut goodness.  I was more than half-tempted to drink it with a straw.  I didn't do it, but I was tempted.  The topping on this cake is finished under the broiler.  I did a similar topping for my Fruit Cocktail Cake.  If you've never had a broiled icing, you should try it out.  They are super-easy and very rarely fail to impress.

Praline Sheet Cake
makes one 9" x 14" cake

Print me, Please!!!

for the cake:
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

for the topping:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped, salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Spray a 9" x 14" baking pan with nonstick spray; set aside.

Combine the buttermilk and butter in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, stirring occasionally.  Once the butter has melted, pour the mixture into a large bowl.  Add the sugar and eggs; beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla all at once and mix on low speed until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and a springy to the touch.

Meanwhile, make the topping:  In a small saucepan, combine all the topping ingredients.  Heat the mixture on medium low heat until the butter is melted.  Do not bring the mixture to a boil.

As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, turn on your broiler and position one of the oven racks 4-6" from the heat.  Pour the topping over the hot cake.  Place the cake under the broiler and cook until the topping bubbles and the peanut begin to brown.  Leave the cake in the pan.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

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