Cookbooks & Cardio

I drag myself to the gym every morning at the crack of dawn.  Well, maybe not the crack of dawn, but early. Anyway, this is, of course, all in an effort to battle the effects of being a baker!  To keep from being bored I take reading material with me.  Well, when you go to the gym at the same time every morning you tend to run into all of the same people.  It’s nice.  Until they start pointing out that they are catching me reading cookbooks!  Isn’t it ironic?  Cardio and cookbooks.  And usually not just any cookbooks, but ones about ooey, gooey cakes and cupcakes.  My latest favorite has been one about Southern cakes by Paula Dean and her sons.  I am attaching my favorite twist on a Southern favorite, chocolate praline cake. I hope you find it as easy and delicious as I do.  And – please don’t judge me for working out with a cookbook in hand!

Chocolate Praline Cake
1 ½ Cups heavy whipping cream
1 ½ Cups chopped pecans
1 ½ Cups packed light brown sugar
1 box devils food cake mix (prepared according to box directions)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 Cups powdered sugar
2 T vanilla

  1. chocolate praline cakePrepare cake batter according to directions.
  2. Put ½ Cup heavy cream in the bottom of each of three 9” round cake pans.
  3. Sprinkle ½ Cup of brown sugar over the cream in each of the 3 pans, covering the bottom of the pans evenly.
  4. Sprinkle ½ Cup of chopped pecans over the brown sugar in each of the 3 pans, covering the brown sugar evenly.
  5. Carefully pour 1/3 of the prepared chocolate cake batter over the top of the pecans in each pan without stirring.
  6. Bake the cake layers in a 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the cake is baked through.
  7. While the cake is baking, in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, with the wire whisk, beat the cream until it starts to thicken.
  8. Gradually add the vanilla and powdered sugar and keep whisking until stiff peaks form, refrigerate when finished.
  9. When the cakes are done, let cool slightly (5-7 minutes) and turn out, upside down, onto wax paper. Let cool completely.
  10. To assemble – put one layer – pecan side up onto a cake round or display piece.
  11. Spread about 1 ½ Cups of whipped cream over the top, leaving a 1 inch border.
  12. Repeat with the next 2 layers, covering the top layer to the edge, refrigerate the cake. (It is OK if the pecan/caramel mixture or the cream drip over the edges of the cake layers).
  13. Decorate the top with extra pecans, if desired.



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