This is the cake I made for Travis' birthday. Each component is a dessert in and of itself. Enjoy!
1 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Brown Sugar Caramel Glaze
1. Grease bottoms of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans; line with wax paper. Grease and flour wax paper and sides of pans; set pans aside.
2. Cook first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is smooth; remove from heat, and let cool.
3. Beat buttermilk and next 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add butter mixture to buttermilk mixture, beating until blended. Combine sugar, flour, and salt; gradually add to buttermilk mixture, beating until blended. (Batter will be thin.) Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
4. Bake at 350° for 25 to 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. (Cake layers will appear thin.)
5. Spread about 1/2 cup Chocolate Ganache between each cake layer; spread remaining Chocolate Ganache on sides of cake. (Do not frost top of cake.) Chill cake 30 minutes. Pour warm Praline Frosting slowly over top of cake, spreading to edges. (Cover and let stand up to 24 hours, if desired.)
6. Pierce about 25 holes in top of cake using a wooden or metal skewer. Pour warm Brown Sugar Caramel Glaze over cake.
Yield: Makes 12 servings
2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1. Microwave chocolate morsels and cream in a glass bowl on MEDIUM (50% power) 2 to 3 minutes or until morsels are melted, stirring after 1 1/2 minutes; whisk until smooth. Gradually add butter, whisking until smooth. Cool about 35 minutes or until spreading consistency, whisking every 10 minutes.
Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 cups
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Bake pecans on a baking sheet at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.
2. Bring butter, brown sugar, and cream to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring often; boil, stirring often, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add toasted pecans; stir gently 3 minutes or until frosting begins to cool and thicken slightly.
Yield: Makes 3/4 cup
Brown Sugar Caramel Glaze
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Place the butter, sugars, cream, and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let the glaze boil for 1 minute, stirring, then remove the pan from the heat.
Yield: More than enough!