Did You Say Chocolate Cake?

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i have been cooking for my cousin and her husband for the past few months since their twins were born in April.  they’ve become fans of my cooking and baking, which i’m flattered by, but it really puts the pressure on me.  they know what i’m capable of, so if my food falls flat, i think at this point i’d be more disappointed than them.  i recently went to visit and i decided to bring lunch. i chose a salad that wouldn’t let down any one down: bacon, apples, and blue cheese….oh yeah and some arugula.  but for dessert…i took giada’s hazelnut crunch cake and made my own interpretation of the cake.

chocolate brittle cake
My Chocolate Brittle Cake

Cake:
1 box devil’s food cake mix

Brittle:
1 cup pecans, toasted
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

Frosting:
2 (8-ounce) containers cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
mini chocolate chips, as many as you want

Directions
preheat the oven and prepare the cake mix according to package instructions.  divide the cake batter between 2 (8 inch) cake pans and bake according to package instructions…then let cool on a wire rack.

For the brittle:
place the toasted nuts close together in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. stir the sugar mixture until dissolved. bring to a boil and let cook until the sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes. let the bubbles subside then pour the caramelized sugar over the nuts. place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let the sugar nut mixture cool until hard, about 30 minutes. when the sugar nut mixture is hard and cool, top with another piece of parchment paper and pound into small pieces, or place the sugar nut mixture on a cutting board and cut into small pieces. set aside.

For the frosting:
put the cream cheese, cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. using an electric mixer whip the cream mixture to soft peaks.

To assemble the cake:
put 1 cake on a serving plate. top with 1-inch of the frosting. top with the second layer of cake and continue frosting the entire cake with the remaining frosting. sprinkle the top of the cake with the mini chocolate chips. sprinkle the sides of the cake with the brittle. serve.

tips:

  • use any nuts you have to make the brittle: peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.
  • if you want to make a short cut, buy the frosting…no one will ever know. the decor of the cake will more than make up for it.
  • don’t have the time to do it all at once? bake the cake, while it’s in the oven make the frosting and brittle, and assemble the next morning to still look like a rock star!
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