Chocolate Praline Cake

Saturday, I made pralines... of shame. 

You may take away my southern girl card now. I over stirred. I am ashamed. Feel free to clutch your pearls, and bless my heart. It's been so long since I've made a praline and I just got carried away. 

Happily, this is going to be a thing of the past. Starting in 2016, this will be my full time gig. No more day job! No more going months without make pralines...or anything for that matter.  I will bake with wild abandon... and start running so I can also eat with wild abandon! 

The failed pralines started a chain reaction. I didn't want to throw them away, but how to use them? 

When in doubt... or moments of insanity... I chuck my failures in the food processor. It's cathartic to grind my failures in dust, and even better when I sprinkle them over ice cream. Say what you will, but I like how I deal with failure. It's tasty. 

Fact is, ground pralines are a perfect addition to almost any baked good. Throw half a cup in your next cookie batch and you'll see what I mean! They are excellent decorations as well, as you can see on the cake above!

I winged this cake, big time, and it turned out wonderfully. It feels so good to be getting back to the career I enjoy! 

Three cheers to cake, career changes and chocolate praline cake! 

Chocolate Praline Cake

1 recipe pralines, ground  *** 

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
3/4 cup dutch cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt 

for the bottom layer
1/2 cup rice krispy cereal
1/2 cup melted chocolate
1/2 cup crisped cake crumbs
1/2 ground praline

for the praline layer
2 cups ground praline
2 tablespoons butter, melted

for the chocolate buttercream 
1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch table salt

additional ground pralines for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a jelly roll or sheetcake pan. Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the pralines and set aside.

Cut out two 8 inch rounds from  your sheet cake. I used my 8 inch springform pan as a "cookie cutter" for this. 

Crumble excess cake and spread out on a baking sheet. Return to oven for 15-20 minutes until crumbs are dried and crisp. 

Grind the pralines in a food processor. The end result will look and feel like very soft light brown sugar. 

Line the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Mix together all ingredients for the bottom layer of the cake in a large bowl. Press into the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan. 

Top with a layer of cake. 

Mix together both ingredients for the praline layer in a large bowl. Pour over top of cake layer and gently press into an even layer. 

Top with second layer of cake. 

Refrigerate for one hour. 

Meanwhile, make the buttercream. 

In a the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment whisk butter and sugar on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy or about five minutes.
With the mixer off, Scrape the bowl, then add in cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Turn mixer on low and blend for about 30 seconds. Add in heavy cream.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl then turn the mixer onto medium-high and whisk for 3-5 minutes or until mixture is lighter and fluffier. 

Remove cake from the refrigerator, out of spring form pan and remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Take out a large baking pan and set a can of soup inside. 

Proceed to ice the cake with buttercream frosting.

Place cake on top of can of soup and press ground pralines onto the side of the cake, allowing the excess to fall into the baking sheet. 

Plate and enjoy! 

*** Just note, this recipe doesn't call for stirring at the end, but you should stir just a bit. There will be a moment when you feel the pan get heavier. Stop then and spoon