Monday, February 9, 2009

SAVANNAH PRALINE-SPICE CAKE

1 box carrot cake mix
3 large eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
3 large carrots, grated
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted and divided
1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple, well drained
2/3 cup sugar
24 pecan halves
2 cans homestyle cream cheese frosting
1 tbsp vanilla extract
praline crumbles

Grease 3(8-inch)round cake pans. Line with waxed paper; grease the waxed paper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the cake mix, eggs, water, and oil at low speed of an electric mixer for about half a minute to blend. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the carrots, 1 cup of the pecans, and the pineapple. Pour the batter evenly into the three pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans, on wire racks, for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on the wire racks. Wrap the cake layers in nonstick aluminum foil and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Freezing will allow for easier frosting. Coat a sheet of wax paper with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Place the sugar in a large heavy skillet. Cook the sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook 5 to 10 minutes or until the sugar melts and turns a light brown. Remove the sugar from the heat. Working quickly, drop pecan halves, a few at a time, into caramelized sugar, turning to coat. Using a fork, remove pecans to the greased sheet of waxed paper. Cool completely; remove from the waxed paper and reserve for garnish.

Combine the frosting, vanilla, and remaining 1 cup of pecans in a large bowl. Remove the cake layers from the freezer and unwrap. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Let stand for 1 hour before cutting. Sprinkle Praline Crumbles(recipe below)over the top of the cake. Garnish rim of cake with the candied pecans.

NOTE: You can substitute spice cake mix for carrot cake mix, if you prefer. Increase the water amount to 1 1/3 cups if using spice cake mix.

PRALINE CRUMBLES:

1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Add sugar, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the sugar melts. Stir in pecans; cook until pecans are coated and sugar turns light brown. Pour pralines onto waxed paper. Cool; break into pieces.

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