Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One Great Cake!

So, I survived my first Thanksgiving as the hostess. Let's just say I will not be volunteering that duty for a while. Other than my Mother taking her shirt off in the kitchen (not even kidding) it all went pretty smoothly but, man was it exhausting. You cook for two days and in a matter of minutes....It's over. WTF! Most of the stuff I was tasked to prepare was pretty standard; turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, gravy, etc. But what really was impressive was my dessert - Praline-Pumpkin Cake. Not only did it look impressive but is was SUPER easy and delicious. The recipe came from the kind folks at Betty Crocker and even though I messed it up a little it still tasted fantastic. The mess up came when halfway through making this my darling husband called in a panic because he had to work late and could not get to Comcast to upgrade our cable box. He absolutely HAD to watch Thanksgiving football on his new TV in HD. So, being the kind devoted wife that I am, I turned everything off in the kitchen and took care of it. This interruption however, resulted in me forgetting to add the cream to the caramel. BUT, what I ended up with was a candied pecan topping on my cakes that was scrumptious! Now, I will have to make this cake again correctly and see which way I like it better!

Praline Pumpkin Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1 cup (from 15-oz can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy cream cheese frosting
Caramel topping, if desired
Additional coarsely chopped pecans, if desired

1. Heat oven to 325°F. In 1-quart heavy saucepan, stir together butter, whipping cream and brown sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter is melted. Pour into 2 (9- or 8-inch) round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup pecans.

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Carefully spoon batter over pecan mixture in each pan.

3. Bake 43 to 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

4. Stir remaining 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice into frosting. To assemble cake, place 1 layer, praline side up, on serving plate. Spread with half of the frosting. Top with second layer, praline side up; spread remaining frosting to edge of layer. Drizzle with caramel topping and additional pecans. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

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