Want to know what I did on Friday? I made bundt cakes. It took all afternoon.
Why two? Because I ruined the first one.
(Actually there is a much longer, sadder story associated with this cake. I tried to make it for my boyfriend's family. I ruined it. I had to bring store-bought pound cake and strawberries to his grandmother's house for dessert. Yes, I cried. Friday's cake was supposed to be Cake Redemption. Now I'm convinced that cake is cursed.)
Back to Friday..
What did I learn on Friday, other than I am not meant to make a successful orange chocolate bundt cake? I will never not grease and flour a bundt pan again.
I tried loosening the cake with a rubber spatula, a butter knife, and a skewer that I bent to form the shape of the bundt pan. I gave the cake a steam bath. I froze the cake for an hour and tried all my methods again. I aggressively whacked the bundt pan with the rubber spatula, then a wooden spoon.
I owe my mother a new bundt pan..and still the cake came out ruined. Topless. Yikes.
While I was tackling the cake, I put Backup Cake in the oven. This cake, to be exact. I didn't mess with the recipe, and I made sure to grease and flour the bundt pan (it was also one of those pans that separates at the bottom for easy cake removal).
I am kind of really glad that I ruined the first cake. Because Cake #2 was amazing.
The only change I made was to the topping..I thought pecans might go better..maybe because of the alliteration, maybe because I had fresh pecans and sad, stale walnuts. I also chopped them much smaller than Joy chopped her nuts. This way, the praline and nuts kind of coated the outside of the cake.
The praline is incredible. The cake itself is incredible. And everyone who's tried it has been shocked that such a simple spice cake could be so incredibly..incredible.
I think it's the whipped egg whites that really send it over the top. Who knows. What I do know is that my dad has had this cake for breakfast and lunch two days in a row.
Pear Pecan Praline Cake
2c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2tsp. allspice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 pears (I used one comice and two bosc) peeled and chopped into 'diced' sized pieces
(the recipe calls for 1c chopped walnuts too, but I don't like crunchy things in my cake, so I omitted them)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a bundt pan. sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. In an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar and spices on medium, until creamy (about 4 minutes). Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then add the vanilla. Alternate adding the buttermilk and flour mixtures in thirds. Fold in the pears. With a hand mixer whip the egg whites until they just form peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter just enough to be thoroughly incorporated. Don't over-fold. Pour batter into bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour (my cake took a little over an hour..just keep checking it at 45 minutes every 5 minutes.) Cake is done when a skewer inserted into it comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for ten minutes. Remove cake from pan and return to rack to cool. Then, make your praline!
Pecan Praline Topping
3/4c light brown sugar, packed
1/4c whipping cream
1c diced pecans
In a small saucepan melt together the cream, butter and sugar over medium-high until incorporated. Bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes, stirring very often. Reduce heat to low and stir in pecans.
Pour glaze over cake, so that the praline covers the top and runs down the sides. Decorate the cake by pressing whole pecan halves around the outer ring of the cake if you used a flat bundt pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature.