Pound cake as sweet as you want it to be

August 12, 2009|By ELLEN FOLKMAN / St. Petersburg Times

This New Orleans praline-pound-cake recipe is a keeper. The house smelled like fresh pralines while it was baking.

Deborah Griswold of Dunedin, Fla., said she "was recently looking at a catalog and saw a praline pound cake." She noted that it was expensive and wondered "if any readers have a recipe for me to try."

Joan White of Malvern, Pa., had an excellent one.

The history of the praline dates to 17th-century France, where the confection was usually caramelized sugar and almonds. In America it's traditionally pecans cooked in brown sugar and cream. A basic praline recipe calls for pecans, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream or milk, and butter, all of which this recipe has.

A few notes: I baked the cake for 75 minutes and thought it was done. It was not -- and I didn't know it until I took it out of the pan. If you use the toothpick test as I did, check more than one spot, or use the tests Joan suggests in the recipe. Use a stand mixer; this is a lot of batter and a hand mixer will probably not do the job. Don't over-mix. You might want to double the sauce recipe. Though the cake doesn't need it, you will want to put more on it. It's that good.



For the cake:

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 pound light brown sugar; press out the lumps
1 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely minced pecans

For the praline sauce:

1/3 cup evaporated milk
2-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon pecans, finely minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and shortening until fluffy. Add brown sugar gradually, creaming until light, then add granulated sugar the same way.

Add the eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Combine the milk and vanilla. Set aside. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix only enough to blend. Fold in the pecans.

Pour batter into a well-greased and floured 10-inch tube pan and bake for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the cake pulls from sides of pan and springs back when lightly touched. Cool upright in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan and around center tube with a thin-bladed spatula, then invert cake onto cooling rack to cool. Transfer to cake plate. Serve with praline sauce.

To make the sauce, bring evaporated milk, brown sugar and vanilla to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in pecans and let cool slightly.

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