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Praline Crunch Cake




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Praline Crunch Cake
Bon Appetit March 1987

3 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup Praline liqueur
1 1/3 cups chopped toasted pecans
1 tablespoon sifted baking soda

1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
6 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup strained fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel [zest]
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
Pinch of salt
8 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons Praline liqueur

For praline:  Grease baking sheet. Cook 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1/4 cup liqueur in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, swirling pan occasionally. Increase heat and boil until just before candy thermometer registers 300 degrees F (hard-crack stage).Add half of pecans. Remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda and
stir gently to dissolve. Immediately turn out onto prepared pan, spreading evenly. Cool completely. Break into large chunks. Store in plastic bag.  Repeat with remaining ingredients to make second batch of praline.
(Can be prepared 1 week ahead.)

For cake
:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift flour and 1/2 cup sugar into large bowl.  Make well in center. Add 1/4 cup sugar, yolks, juice, peel, liqueur and salt. Using electric mixer, beat until slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted; do not overbeat.  Using clean dry beaters,
beat whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of whites into batter to loosen. Fold in remaining whites. Turn into 10-inch angel food cake pan. Using fork, break any air bubbles. Using spatula, smooth top.
Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
Invert pan and let cake cool completely in pan. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead and refrigerated.)

For topping
:  Crush half of praline to coarse crumbs. Break remaining praline into quarter-size pieces. Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream
to stiff peaks. Fold in Praline liqueur.

To assemble
:  Remove cake from pan. Using long serrated knife, cut evenly into 3 layers. Set bottom layer on 10-inch cardboard round. Spread with
1/2-inch-thick layer of whipped cream. Sprinkle with half of praline crumbs. Top with second cake layer.  Spread with 1/2-inch-thick layer of whipped cream. Sprinkle with remaining praline crumbs. Top with third cake layer. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining whipped cream. Decorate
with larger praline pieces. Serve immediately.

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