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A Cooking Adventure with Thom

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Christmas Praline Spice Cake

Thom Hackett
Serves: 5






1 (18-ounce) package carrot cake mix (Betty Crocker is good.)
3 large eggs
1 cup water
⅓ cup vegetable oil
3 large carrots, grated
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted and divided
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained
⅔ cup sugar
24 pecan halves
2 (16-ounce) containers home style cream cheese frosting (Duncan Hines has one)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Praline Crumbles (recipe to the right)

Cooking Method

Using an offset spatula makes frosting cake layers a breeze.

For best results, use an electric knife to slice this cake.



Grease 3 (8-inch) round cake pans.

  • Line with wax paper.

  • Grease wax paper.

  • Set aside.

Beat first 4 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 30 seconds.

  • Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.

  • Stir in carrot, 1 cup pecans, and pineapple.

  • Pour batter evenly into pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

  • Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.

  • Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

  • Wrap cake layers in nonstick aluminum foil.

  • Freeze 30 minutes. (This step aids in frosting the finished product.)

Coat a sheet of wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.


Place sugar in a large heavy skillet.

  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 5 to 10 minutes or until sugar melts and turns light brown.

  • Remove from heat.

  • Working quickly, drop pecan halves, a few at a time, into caramelized sugar, turning to coat.

  • Using a fork, remove from wax paper, and reserve for garnish.

Combine frosting, vanilla, and remaining 1 cup pecans in a bowl.

  • Unwrap cake layers.

  • Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

  • Let cake stand 1 hour before serving.

  • Sprinkle Pecan Crumbles over top of cake, and garnish rim of cake with candied pecans.

Note: You can substitute 1 (18.25-ounce) package spice cake mix for the carrot cake mix, if you’d like. Increase the water to 1-1/3 cups.

Praline Crumbles Recipe...

  • 1 tablespoon butter
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter in a medium skillet over low heat.

  • Add sugar, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until sugar melts.

  • Stir in pecans; cook until pecans are coated and sugar turns light brown.

  • Pour praline onto wax paper.

  • Cool.

  • Break into coarse pieces.

Shortcut Solution: In a big hurry?  You can frost this cake with plain frosting minus the nuts and vanilla, and forgo making the garnishes.

819 Mountshire Terrace, Chester, Virginia 23836 Phone: (804) 530-1183