Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Praline Topping

Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Praline Topping

Praline, a southern candy, forms the top of this showstopping cake.

Ingredients

Cake

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Praline

  • 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Recipe Preparation

FOR CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment. Spray parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

  • Place butter and cocoa powder in medium bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over; stir. Let stand 2 minutes; whisk until blended. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and coarse salt in another medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, egg, and vanilla in large bowl. Gradually whisk cocoa mixture into buttermilk mixture; whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, whisking to blend between additions (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pan.

  • Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Run knife around pan edges to release cake. Invert onto rack; remove pan and parchment. Cool completely.

FOR GANACHE

  • Place chocolate and cream in microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Stir in butter. Let stand until spreadable, about 30 minutes. Spread over top and sides of cake. Transfer cake to plate. Chill 2 hours and up to 1 day.

FOR PRALINE

  • Stir first 3 ingredients in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until butter melts. Boil 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and vanilla. Add pecans; stir just to incorporate. Quickly pour praline over cake. Spread just to edges (topping sets quickly).

  • DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome. Store at room temperature.

Reviews Section

Chocolate Praline Cake

My aunt made this cake for my college graduation, and it instantly became my favorite cake in the world! This dessert is so rich, with chocolate ganache in between three layers of moist chocolate cake, topped with a creamy praline frosting. Perfection!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 1-½ cup Butter, Divided Use
  • ¼ cups Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Water
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla, Divided
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • _____
  • FOR THE GANACHE:
  • 12 ounces, weight Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • ⅔ cups Whipping Cream, Divided
  • _____
  • FOR THE PRALINE TOPPING:
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 cup Pecans, Chopped

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 9-inch round pans.

2. Melt 1 cup butter, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and 1 cup water in saucepan over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

3. Mix 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 tsp vanilla on medium speed until smooth, then mix in cocoa mixture until well blended.

4. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour and 2 cups sugar, then slowly add to wet mixture. Pour batter evenly into the three pans, and bake for 18-20 minutes or until set. Cool in pans on wire racks.

1. Microwave the chocolate chips with 1/3 cup whipping cream on 50% power until completely melted, about 2-3 minutes. Whisk mixture, then add 1/4 cup butter, one Tablespoon at a time. Let cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove cakes from pans and let cool further on wire racks while ganache is setting.

3. Place first cake on cake stand, spread 1/2 cup ganache on it, top with second cake, spread 1/2 cup ganache on it, top with third cake, and spread remaining ganache on sides of cake.

1. Place remaining 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup whipping cream in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, then continue to boil for one minute. Remove from heat, add 1 cup powdered sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 cup chopped pecans, and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Mixture will thicken.

2. Pour praline topping over the center of the cake, then spread evenly. The topping will drip down the edges. Let set before serving.


Tortillas and Honey

Before I even received The Book Club Cook Book, I had my heart set on making Minny's Caramel Cake from The Help because I’ve been looking for an excuse to try my hand at a homemade caramel cake ever since I read the book. When I saw Ernest J. Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying, however, I knew I had to do something to honor him and this book.

Ernest J. Gaines is one of my all-time favorite authors and A Lesson Before Dying was actually the first book of his that I read about 15 year ago while I was in high school. I had a great English teacher who encouraged her students to read current literature while we were studying Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ambrose Bierce. Some of my favorite authors she introduced me to included Ernest J. Gaines, Billie Lets, and John Steinbeck. After her class, I consumed all the novels by Ernest J. Gaines that I could get my hands on.

Gaines’ novels were the first time that I ever experienced a strong emotional reaction to something I’ve read. I’ve always grown up reading, but much of what I read was The Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, and R.L. Stine. So his topics were eye opening and sometimes soul aching. But the emotions he invoked helped me to realize that there was so much literature out there besides simple and fun reads and the literature you’re required to read in school.

This novel, like all of Gaines' novels, takes place in Louisiana and many of his novels have undertones of discrimination and prejudice that Gaines' experienced while growing up. His novels have a strong sense of community which help to create a resilience among the community and the characters is his novels, but the suffering and the loss are still there which all inherently affect the community.

Check out these other awesome bloggers who are participating in The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Crew, and check back later to see what recipes the bloggers were inspired to make!

Follow this project on social media with the hashtag #thebookclubcookbookCC. We'll be posting all of our creations to our Pinterest board. Here's the team, in alphabetical order with links to their homepages.

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from September 1st till September 30th at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Chocolate Cake with Praline Topping
from Bon Appetit, July 2009

Chocolate Cake:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
1/4 c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1/4 c. buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ganache:
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbs. heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Praline:
3/4 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. pecans, toasted, chopped


For Chocolate Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment. Spray parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

Place butter and cocoa powder in medium bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over stir. Let stand 2 minutes whisk until blended.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and coarse salt in another medium bowl.

Whisk buttermilk, egg, and vanilla in large bowl. Gradually whisk cocoa mixture into buttermilk mixture whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, whisking to blend between additions (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Run knife around pan edges to release cake. Invert onto rack remove pan and parchment. Cool completely.

For Ganache:
Place chocolate and cream in microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Stir in butter. Let stand until spreadable, about 30 minutes. Spread over top and sides of cake. Transfer cake to plate. Chill 2 hours and up to 1 day.

For Praline:
Stir first 3 ingredients in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until butter melts. Boil 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat whisk in sugar and vanilla. Add pecans stir just to incorporate. Quickly pour praline over cake. Spread just to edges (topping sets quickly).

NOTE: You can use the praline ingredients and directions to make traditional pralines! Just follow the directions to make the mixture, then scoop out onto parchment paper to make your desired size. You can also add in more pecans if you like pralines to be more round. Less pecans equal flatter pralines more pecans equal more round!


Reviews ( 13 )

I love bourbon and chocolate together, and this recipe had both, so I gave it a whirl. Like another reviewer said, if you take it in steps, it's not bad. I followed it exactly. If your one of those people who start getting brave and eye balling everything, might wanna stop yourself on this recipe. It might get you into a fix. But follow to the dot, and you should have a good cake. Be sure to pour the praline frosting when it's just starting to thicken and warm enough to spread. The only thing I did different was I used a devils food cake mix and doctored it up a bit. It saved time and made the cake a bit taller, which is what I prefer.

I Made this cake just finished it. started at 6 ended at 9 but this is my first from scratch cake ever! :D IM proud. I used dark brown sugar intead of light for the praline frosting though so its really thick and crumbly but its actually really good and makes the cake have a interestingly good consistency i may make it like this next and call it chocolate bourbon praline crunch :D

This is a very good cake. Yes, it takes time. No, it's not a breeze but if you plan to do only this in the kitchen and clean as you go (& not get interrupted), you can do it pleasantly in 2.5 hrs. My cake layers were not as thick as the photo shows. With 3 layers & icing, it looked more like a 2 layer cake. Which was ok. just not the tall, bakery style cake look. Ganache was simple to make, as was the praline frosting. You just need to make sure each cools to the right consistency. I put ganache in refrigerator & stirred every 10 min. It took about 35 min like the recipe says. But if it gets too stiff, stir it until it gets 'thinner.' The praline frosting you have to catch just at the right time - don't get interrupted here. No refrigeration needed, just stir and then let sit, stir again. If too thin, it will ooze off the top. Put a spoonful on top to see how it will spread. Doesn't taste like pralines to me, though. My bourbon glaze only flamed for about 2 seconds - ??


Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place a mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.

Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the flour. Cook and stir until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Spread the dough evenly in the bottom of the baking dish.

Bake the pastry in the preheated oven until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. (The dough will rise and make a boat shape, but should drop as it cools.) Cool completely on wire rack.

Remove the chilled mixing bowl from the freezer and pour in 2 cups of cold whipping cream. Whip until the cream thickens, about 1 minute stir in the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla extract. Continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Refrigerate the whipped cream while you mix the pudding.

Pour the pudding mixes and the milk into a mixing bowl and stir until creamy. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread the filling over the cooled crust and refrigerate.

Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bring 1 cup of cream almost to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to soften for 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly to thicken, about 10 minutes. Pour the ganache over the cream filling, spreading to cover the entire surface. Return the pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.


Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour*
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot coffee or water
  • Doubled recipe of Chocolate Ganache or Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Imperial Sugar Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.


Step 1

Preparation
1. Grease bottoms of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans line with wax paper. Grease and flour wax paper and sides of pans set pans aside.

2. Cook first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is smooth remove from heat, and let cool.

3. Beat buttermilk and next 3 ingredients 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.) Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

4. Bake at 350° for 25 to 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. (Cake layers will appear thin.)

5. Spread about 1/2 cup Chocolate Ganache between each cake layer spread remaining Chocolate Ganache on sides of cake. (Do not frost top of cake.) Chill cake 30 minutes. Pour warm Praline Frosting slowly over top of cake, spreading to edges. (Cover and let stand up to 24 hours, if desired.)

6. Pierce about 25 holes in top of cake using a wooden or metal skewer. Pour warm Bourbon Glaze over cake.

*Chocolate Ganache*
Ingredients
2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
Preparation
1. Microwave chocolate morsels and cream in a glass bowl on MEDIUM (50% power) 2 to 3 minutes or until morsels are melted, stirring after 1 1/2 minutes whisk until smooth. Gradually add butter, whisking until smooth. Cool about 35 minutes or until spreading consistency, whisking every 10 minutes.

*Praline Frosting*
Ingredients
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation
1. Bake pecans on a baking sheet at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.
2. Bring butter, brown sugar, and cream to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring often boil, stirring often, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add toasted pecans stir gently 3 minutes or until frosting begins to cool and thicken slightly.

*Bourbon Glaze*
Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup bourbon

Preparation
1. Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium-high heat stir in sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat, and stir in bourbon. Carefully ignite the fumes just above liquid mixture with a long match or long multipurpose lighter. Let stand until flames disappear.


I go right for the blogular

John wanted to make this cake for dinner club and I told him that if he wanted it, he had to make it. But guess who made it? Me! I am overcoming my fear of cakes. This was a pretty easy cake to make.

Ingredients. Lots of sugar, butter, and heavy cream.


Batter, pre-cooked. Please resist the urge to lick spoons.


Cake. Cool it completely on the rack. It was really moist and delicious on its own, but even better with the ganache and praline topping. Oh, the praline topping, so delicious.


Um, there were some other steps in there, but I didn’t take pictures of them, evidently. So here’s the finished product. So: chocolate cake, ganache, praline topping, raspberries and blueberries. The berries were John’s idea.


Oh yeah. That’s the stuff. Do you see the pecans? Kate and Sam taught us how to make out with raspberries. That was different.

What’s that? You want to know if it was as delicious as it looks? It was. In fact, it was 137,000 times more delicious than it looks.


My Best Cheese Cake With Chocolate Ganache and Strawberry Sauce

Filling:
3-8 ounce packages good quality cream cheese (room temp)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
3 eggs lightly beaten (room temp)
1 tablespoon real vanilla (NOT imitation)
¼ cup all purpose flour

Chocolate Ganache topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups good quality chocolate chips (You can use milk chocolate or semi sweet, whatever you prefer)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee (this ingredient is optional)
¼ teaspoon salt

Strawberry Sauce:
1 lb. fresh or frozen strawberries
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon. vanilla

Nutritional information

Instructions

Place a small pan with a couple of inches of hot water in the bottom rack of your oven. (I use a round cake pan). Preheat oven to 325 F.

Crust:
In an 8 inch spring form pan, add the graham cracker or chocolate cookie crumbs, salt and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add the melted butter or margarine mix until crumbs are completely coated with the butter. Spread the crumbs out evenly in the pan and press firmly on the bottom and a little up the sides of the pan. Make sure all the crumbs are firmly pressed all around the pan evenly.

Filling:
I use a stand mixer but you can use an electric mixer or food processor (Cuisinart of course!). Take the eggs and cream cheese out of the refrigerator 3 hours before starting. Take the heavy cream out of the refrigerator about 30 to 40 minutes before starting. This is so there are no lumps in your cheese cake.

In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar. Mix on low for 1 minute. Scrape the sides with rubber spatula. Add the whipping cream. Mix on low for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl again. Mix again for about 30 seconds. Keep mixer on low and add lightly beaten eggs a little at a time. Now add vanilla. Turn off mixer and scrape sides again. Turn mixer back on low, add flour a little at a time. Scrape sides again. Now mix on medium speed until everything is mixed well. About 2 minutes. Scrape down sides one more time and mix on low for 1 more minute. Stir with a rubber spatula one more time just to make sure everything is mixed well. Pour filling over the crust. I bang the pan 10-15 times on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the top (supposed to help to keep cake from cracking). Wrap the bottom and outside of the pan with foil. Put cake in oven. Set timer for one hour. Turn off oven open oven door a little and leave the cake in for 30 more minutes. Remove cake from oven.

While the cake is baking here is the recipe for the ganache and strawberry sauce.

Ganache:
In a medium size sauce pan add the heavy cream. Bring to a low boil. Remove from heat add the chocolate chips. Stir with a whisk until chocolate is melted. Add remaining ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Strawberry sauce:
If using fresh strawberries cut them in quarters and put in a blender or food processor. If using frozen, make sure they are thawed before putting in blender. Add sugar and vanilla. Blend until no lumps remain. Take a taste. You may need to add a little more sugar depending on how sweet your berries are.

When cake comes out of the oven, let it cool for about an hour. To remove it from the pan, run a sharp knife around the edges carefully. Make sure you get all the way down to the bottom. Carefully open the latch on the outside of the pan and remove. Leave the cake on the bottom part of the pan. Put the cake on a plate or platter and pour the ganache over the top letting it flow down the sides (if ganache has cooled down, reheat it on a low temp, just until warm). Refrigerate for at least two hours. Cut yourself a piece and spoon as much strawberry sauce over the top as you like.

When I served this in our restaurant I would put the strawberry sauce in a squeeze bottle and zigzag the sauce back and forth across the piece of cake. Then I would add some homemade whipped cream. This is optional of course.


Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour*
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot coffee or water
  • Doubled recipe of Chocolate Ganache or Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dixie Crystals Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.