New Orleans Bourbon Cake

Last summer my mother-in-law asked me to bring dessert to the barbecue.  I wanted to bring a dessert that would have big flavors to stand up to barbecue, as well as be tempting enough to help everyone remember it was a day to celebrate, not diet.  I chose the New Orleans Bourbon Cake.  It did everything I hoped and an extra bonus, my mother-in-law really liked it.

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I will say this cake is a simple batter cake, no egg whites to beat just right.  The frosting and praline topping may however seem a bit intimidating.  The first few times you make this frosting you will need a thermometer, but it has only 3 ingredients and will soon become a frosting you will feel free to experiment with as well as just know when it is ready to whip.  The praline also requires a thermometer, but again, very few ingredients and so easy.  So let us begin...


I find it best to make the praline topping and cake the day before, so they both have time to cool completely before assembling.

Praline Topping

1 1/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 1/3 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped pecans

Combine the first four ingredients in a saucepan.  Boil to 234 degrees.  This does not need to be stirred and will seem like it is taking a bit too long, but don't leave the kitchen, because it will get to 234 degrees all of a sudden and you defiantly don't want to go beyond the correct temperature.  As soon as it reaches the correct temperature, remove from the heat and cool to 110 degrees.  (It takes a while to cool, this is a good time to start the cake.)  As soon as it has cooled, add the pecans and start beating like an arm exercise.  You will get the opportunity to switch arms.  Beat until the mixture looses its gloss.  Spread on a baking sheet to finish cooling.  There is enough to use as a topping as well as between the layers.  I usually use it just for the top and save the rest to put in cookies or on ice cream.

The Cake 

 Mix 1/2 cup cocoa with 1/2 cup boiling water in a small bowl to bloom the cocoa. 

1 cup soft butter                                            f

2cups sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a two cup measuring cup;  a double shot of espresso, 4 ounces

                                               1/2 cup bourbon

                                               and cool water to total 1 1/4 cup of liquid

In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the vanilla, eggs and bloomed cocoa to the butter and eggs, beat until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients and the liquid, beat about 2-3 minutes.  Bake in two greased 9 inch pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 22 to 28 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Whipped Ganache Frosting

2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.  When the chocolate has completely melted stir in the butter and heavy whipping cream.  Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.  Cool the mixture to 78 to 74 degrees.  Whip until it doubles in size.  If the mixture stays too loose, cool a bit longer.  If the mixture gets too stiff, set your bowl over the water in the bottom of the double boiler and gently reheat it and try beating it again.  It takes a bit of finesse, but it is so worth it!