Warning: You must read this recipe carefully or you will be spending time cleaning out your oven the way I have done this week. :)
When made properly, this pumpkin praline cake should look more like an upside down cake, a beautiful praline that starts on the bottom of the pan topping the beautiful layers of the cake. When made improperly, the batter forces the praline mixture up and over the sides of the pan into the bottom of your oven. It still tastes good and can end up looking like a beautiful design for the side of the cake (as pictured), but keeping the praline in the pan is the best way to go! Don't bake like me, and learn from my mistakes!
Even with mistakes, this recipe is good. I had people exclaiming over its moistness and flavor (although this could also be a result of taking it out 10 minutes early due to the smoke pouring out of my oven.)
This recipe comes from the Almost Home Tearoom cookbook, from Greencastle, Indiana. I worked there making desserts for a year or so before going back to grad school, and this was a hugely popular cake in the autumn months.
Combine in a heavy saucepan:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter*
1/4 cup whipping cream
Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Pour into two 9x1.5 round baking pans. (Jenny's note: Please line the pans with parchment paper or you will have a plating disaster.)
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
In a separate bowl, beat:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cup sugar
Add to egg mixture alternately with dry ingredients:
2 cups pumpkin (Jenny's note - I start and end with dry)
Carefully** spoon over praline mixture in pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Cool five minutes.*** Invert pans onto wire rack. Stack cake layers when cool.
Drizzle with heated mixture of:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp milk
Yields 12 servings
*(recipe says margarine, I wonder if that would have stopped my problem, hmm)
** SHE MEANS CAREFULLY. The idea is to get the batter on top of the praline.
*** Do not wait longer than this or the praline mixture will cement the cake to the pan.