This Praline Cake is made from scratch and worth every second in the kitchen. It’s the perfect recipe for adding some sweet Southern flair to any occasion!
The vanilla cake base whips up easily and bakes up perfectly fluffy and soft, and you’ll find the pecan praline icing is just as delicious and authentic tasting as the pralines you’d find in a New Orleans confections shop.
When that warm praline icing hits the cake, the two connect in a way that’s absolutely irresistible.
Other Praline Cake recipes call for bundt pans or come stacked in layer cake form. There will be none of that here. We’re cutting back on complicated and simultaneously upping the flavor ante by taking the much simpler Texas Sheet Cake route!
If you’ve never had this type of cake before, all you really need to know is every single bite is moist and deliciously decadent.
The warm praline icing gets poured over the sheet cake, locking in that moisture for days, making it an excellent candidate for a make-ahead dessert!
Serve this Praline Cake on any occasion or on any holiday for a standout dessert no Southerner could deny!
HOW TO MAKE PRALINE CAKE
The first thing you’ll do to whip up this Praline Cake Recipe is knock out that vanilla cake base. The cake will bake in a 9×13″ baking pan.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PAN
It’s best to a light-colored metal baking pan rather than a ceramic baking dish. The color keeps the cake from over-browning on the sides and bottom, and metal is a better heat conductor for baking cakes.
If you don’t want to serve your cake out of a baking pan, you’ll want to equip it with a parchment paper sling.
Regardless of whether you’re planning to use the sling, grease the cake dish with either butter or cooking spray.
HOW TO MAKE THE PRALINE CAKE BASE
Once you’ve got your cake pan ready to go, it’s time to make that cake batter! This recipe was inspired by Cook’s Country Tres Leches Cake. The cake proved a simple recipe to execute and the sheet cake portion of the recipe baked up perfectly vanilla with a light, moist crumb.
1. MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS
To make the cake base, begin by mixing the dry ingredients. You’ll need all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
To mix up the dry ingredients, just add them to a medium-sized mixing bowl and use a whisk to combine.
PRO TIP | Be sure to use only all-purpose flour and do not make the mistake of mixing up baking powder for baking soda in this recipe!
2. MIX THE EGGS AND SUGAR
Now, onto the wet ingredients! If you have a stand mixer, it will make quick and easy work of this Praline Cake Recipe! If you don’t have a stand mixer, just use a handheld mixer and a large mixing bowl instead.
If using a stand mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment. Start with eggs and granulated sugar. Add four large eggs to the bowl and mix for about 30 seconds to make sure those yolks are broken up.
Then, with the mixer running on low, slowly add in the sugar. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and mix for about 4 to 5 minutes more.
You are ready to move on to the next step in your Praline Cake recipe once the mixture is noticeably thicker and lighter in color. You may also notice as the batter falls, it falls like thick ribbons, keeping its form across the top of the batter.
PRO TIP | Beating the eggs and the sugar together until the “ribbon stage” is reached ensures the cake bakes up light and fluffy. This vastly improves upon the texture of the cake; don’t skimp out on this step!
3. ADD REMAINING WET INGREDIENTS
Here’s where it gets really easy: Once that egg-sugar mixture appears thickened and glossy, you can add in the remaining wet ingredients. In goes the melted and cooled butter, the milk (room temperature or just barely warm to the touch), and pure vanilla extract.
Mix all of the ingredients until they’re well combined.
PRO TIP: Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. This small extra step ensures all of your ingredients mix properly and your cake doesn’t bake with wonky spots!
4. ADD DRY INGREDIENTS TO WET INGREDIENTS
Now, you’ll add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix on low until you can no longer see any more flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more.
Add the Praline Cake batter to the prepared pan and bake on the center rack of a preheated 325°F oven for about 35 minutes.
You can tell when your cake is done by gently poking it in the center. If the cake springs back at your ever-so-slightly, the cake is done! If the indention remains, continue to bake a few minutes more.
REMEMBER, ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS MATTER!
Room temperature ingredients matter when it comes to the final texture of your Praline Cake. Here are a few tips you may find helpful in a pinch:
- You’ll want to melt your butter and allow it time to cool off a bit before adding it to the eggs and sugar. This is why the butter is at the start of the recipe!
- To quickly bring your eggs to room temperature, place them in a bowl and run warm water over them for about 5 minutes. Then, allow the eggs to sit in the warm water for about 5 to 10 minutes more.
- You can set your milk out up to two hours before you begin baking. If you forget, you can also bring it up to room temperature over low heat on the stovetop. However, pay close attention as it heats up so it doesn’t get too warm!
Remember, the closer to room temperature all of your ingredients are, the better the cake!
HOW TO MAKE PRALINE CAKE FROSTING
Time to put a little praline goodness in this Southern Pecan Praline Cake! Feeling nervous? Don’t! This praline icing is much easier than the art of making praline candies.
PRO TIP: This icing is indeed easy to make, but this portion of the recipe moves quickly. It’s best if you can have all of your ingredients pre-measured and ready to go!
1. BRING BUTTER, CREAM, AND SUGAR TO A BOIL
Your Praline Cake icing begins with butter, heavy whipping cream, and brown sugar on the stovetop. Just add all three ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan and place it over medium-high heat.
Allow the mix to come to a boil, stirring often as you wait. Then, once the mixture reaches a full boil, set a one-minute timer and stir for the entire minute.
2. ADD SUGAR, VANILLA, AND SALT
Once the minute is up, kill the heat and remove the pan from the stovetop. Add in all of the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir until the mix is completely smooth and the sugar is melted.
3. ADD PECANS AND STIR
Add the chopped pecans and stir. Continue to stir until the icing feels slightly thickened.
4. POUR AND SET
There’s no need to wait until the cake has cooled completely to add the icing. It’s actually better if the icing pours over the cake while still warm.
Pour the icing over the top of the cake and spread it to the edges. Allow it to set; this should take about 30 to 45 minutes. Then, serve and enjoy!
6 MORE DESSERT RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Banana Bread Pudding
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Butter Pecan Cake
- Peach Cobbler
- Texas Sheet Cake Cookies
- Kentucky Butter Cake
This Praline Cake is the perfect recipe for adding sweet Southern flair to any occasion! Soft and fluffy vanilla cake gets topped off with a decadent pecan praline icing. An excellent make-ahead dessert for any occasion or holiday!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature or just warm to the touch
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 /2 teaspoon salt
- 1 scant cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9x13" baking pan. If you plan to serve the cake on a platter rather than from the pan, make a parchment paper sling and lay it inside. Next, melt the butter and set it aside to cool.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside.
Add the eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds. If you do not have a stand mixer, use a large bowl and a handheld mixer. With the mixer now on low, add in the sugar while continuing to mix. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix for about 4-5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened.
Add the melted butter, followed by the warm milk and vanilla, and mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add in the flour and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once more.
Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack.
Add the butter, sugar, and cream to a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat and allow to come to a boil, stirring often.
Once the mixture reaches a boil, allow it to boil for 1 minute, stirring the whole time. It's best to set a timer.
Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and whisk until smooth.
Add in the chopped pecans and stir until it feels as though it has thickened slightly. Pour the icing over the warm cake and allow it to set completely, about 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!