Praline 'n' Cream Cake

A gooey pecan topping is baked right onto the cake in this elegant, two-layer dessert. Instead of frosting, it uses citrus-spiked whipped cream.



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Ingredients
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    1/2  cup 
    packed brown sugar
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    1/4  cup 
    butter
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    1/4  cup 
    whipping cream
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    1   cup 
    coarsely chopped pecans
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    2   cups 
    all-purpose flour
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    1 1/2  teaspoons 
    baking powder
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    1 1/2  teaspoons 
    ground cinnamon
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    1/2  teaspoon 
    baking soda
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    1/2  teaspoon 
    salt
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    1/2  teaspoon 
    ground ginger
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    1/4  teaspoon 
    ground cloves
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    2   cups 
    granulated sugar
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    3/4  cup 
    cooking oil
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    4   
    eggs
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    1   cup 
    canned pumpkin
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    2   teaspoons 
    finely shredded orange peel
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    Orange Whipped Cream
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    Chopped toasted pecans (optional)
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    Candied Orange Peel* (optional)
Orange Whipped Cream
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    1 1/4  cups 
    whipping cream
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    1/4  cup 
    powdered sugar
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    1   teaspoon 
    finely shredded orange peel

Candied Orange Peel
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    2   medium 
    oranges
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    1 1/3  cups 
    sugar
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    1/3  cup 
    water


Directions
1.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two 9X1-1/2-inch round baking pans; set aside. In a heavy small saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and whipping cream. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring frequently. Divide mixture between prepared pans. Sprinkle with the 1 cup pecans. Set pans aside.
2.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cloves.
3.
In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar and oil; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, pumpkin, and finely shredded orange peel. Beat until well mixed. Beat in flour mixture until combined.
4.
Carefully spoon batter over caramel-pecan layer in pans. (To prevent nuts from being pushed to the sides of the pans, spoon batter around edges first.) Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers come out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Carefully invert cakes onto wire racks, scraping out any pecan mixture that sticks in the pans and spreading on top of the cakes. Cool completely.
5.
To assemble, place one of the cake layers, pecan side up, on a cake plate. Spread half of the Orange Whipped Cream over cake layer. Top with the remaining cake layer, pecan side up. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe swirls of Orange Whipped Cream atop cake. If desired, garnish with toasted pecans and Candied Orange Peel. Makes 12 to 14 servings.
Orange Whipped Cream
1.
Chill a very large bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer. In the chilled bowl, combine whipping cream, powdered sugar, and finely shredded orange peel; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

Candied Orange Peel
1.
Remove the peel from oranges with a vegetable peeler. Scrape away any soft, white part inside the peel. If white pith is left on, the peel will be bitter. Cut peel into strips. Wrap and refrigerate peeled fruit for another use. Combine sugar and water in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to boiling. Add orange peel strips. Return to boiling, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat. Mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over entire surface. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until peel is almost translucent. Using a slotted spoon, remove peel from syrup, allowing it to drain. Transfer peel to a wire rack set over waxed paper. Set cooked peel aside until cool enough to handle but still warm and slightly sticky. Roll peel in additional sugar to coat. Continue drying on the rack for 1 to 2 hours.

Tip
  • *Test Kitchen Tip: If you want the glitz of a candied orange peel garnish but don't have time to make it, look for candied peel at a fine candy store or specialty kitchen shop in your area.
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