I like roasted, salted nuts. But I also like nuts that are coated in sweet, crunchy shells, including honey roasted peanut and praline pecans. Praline pecans are similar to candied pecans, but tend to have a much thicker sugary coating on them. With a salted nut underneath, they’re indulgent and addictive. I regularly pick up praline pecans (or similarly named confections) at local farmers markets and at Trader Joe’s, which carries its own version. I generally eat them a few at a time, but I sacrificed a whole bunch to infuse their nutty, sugary flavor into this delicious cake.
I pulsed a bunch of praline pecans in a food processor until they were very, very finely chopped, then incorporated them into the batter of this cake. The cake is incredibly light, with an almost feathery, fluffy, texture. The crumb is very tight, so it tends to remind me of a pound cake in appearance, although it is much lighter. The reason that I ground up the pecans is that I didn’t want them to break up the lovely texture of the cake. I simply wanted them to flavor it, so I could get all the tastiness of pecans and still achieve that cloud-like texture. The finished cake is not too sweet and has a great hint of praline and pecans.
This cake doesn’t need any accompaniments – no frostings, no fillings and no glazes. It goes perfectly with just a cup of coffee. If you want to dress it up a little bit, however, fresh raspberries or a drizzle of raspberry sauce adds a nice touch of color and sweetness.
Praline Pecan Cake
1 cup praline pecans
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
In a food processor, pulse praline pecans until very finely chopped.
In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in flour, salt and praline pecans at low speed until completely incorporated. Mix in vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low, add in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated to add the next. Turn mixer up to high speed and beat for 5 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top of the cake is golden brown.
Cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then slide a knife around the edge to loosen the cake and turn it out onto a wire rack (re-invert so the crunchy top stays on top) to cool completely before slicing.