Chocolate Cake and Praline Topping

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photo: Elinor Carucci

More chocolate cake…what could be bad? Super delicious praline topping. You can also make this with a super easy chocolate cake recipe and then add the ganache and praline.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup soy milk
½ tablespoon white vinegar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons pareve whipping cream
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Praline
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup pareve whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted margarine
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

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 margarine 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 soy milk, vinegar, egg, and vanilla in large bowl. Gradually whisk cocoa mixture into soy milk 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.

Ganache:
Place chocolate and pareve cream in microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Stir in margarine. 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.

Praline Topping:
Stir brown sugar, pareve whipping cream, and margarine in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until margarine 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.

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