Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Boozey Birthday Cake...Chocolate Bourbon Praline Cake

How better to round out a weekend, than with this Chocolate Bourbon Praline cake? Okay the weekend...easy Friday night relaxing after a crazy busy week.  Saturday: Long run Saturday morning (half marathon officially less than two weeks away); DC Grey Market Saturday afternoon; and a celebratory dinner Saturday night at Sonoma. I still can't believe that Charles is moving to Scotland...and that it is already February.  Seriously though where did January go? Sunday: run errands and make this cake!

The cake = 3 layers chocolate cake + ganache (between each layer and around the outside) + praline frosting (on the top only) + bourbon glaze (poured over the top)

This is a rich one folks, so grab a glass of water, milk, coffee...something.  The cake layers came out light and fluffy...the ganache is smooth, thick and uber rich...the praline frosting is nutty and sweet...and the bourbon glaze is the ribbon on top of this birthday cake.  This kind of reminds me of a chocolate bourbon pecan "Kentucky Derby" pie in cake form.  So, if you like bourbon or grew in the South this might be just the cake for you.  Enjoy!

Layer 2 flattened plus ganache...

I really could have eaten this cake just like this...but alas this was not to be.

Top with praline frosting....ganache on the outside.

I promise the bourbon was on fire while taking this picture...stupid blue flames

Chocolate Cake: (recipe from Southern Living)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened 
3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 + 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
3/4 cup buttermilk 

1. Grease bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans; line with parchment paper; set pans aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one a time, until well combined.  Whisk in 1/2 cup coffee until well combined.

3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt.

4.  Add the flour mixture and remaining coffee with buttermilk to the sugar-butter mixture, alternating between flour and coffee/buttermilk, mixing between the addition of each.  Begin and end with flour. (Batter will be thin.) Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick 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. Cut off the top of bottom and middle layer to create a level cake.  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:
2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate morsels 
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

1.  Over medium-low heat, using a double boiler melt the butter and chocolate chips in to the whipping cream.  Remove from heat and let thicken for 8-10 minutes.  Spread between the layers of the cake and around the outside.  Do not frost the top of the cake with the ganache.

Praline Frosting:
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

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:
4 tablespoons butter 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup bourbon

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.

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