Sunday, October 7, 2007

Praline and Buttercream covered Yellow Cake.

Have you ever been in a situation where you learn that someone close to you is celebrating a special day in his/her life and then you make plans to prepare something to give them a sweet surprise… you wait for the day and finally the big day arrives….you roll up the sleeves and knot the apron and wear your chef hat and start whipping up and just when you are halfway through the whole project, your spouse calls up frantically, asking for help , to tag him along to somewhere outside to run some important errands………then you make a treaty with your husband, to drop you back in an hour and throw the whole thing into the refrigerator and tries to get into a decent outfit and leave the house ……and then you get back home just half an hour before you wish to leave for the gathering….. you hysterically run around the place, trying to dress up the whole thing , trying to finish the project as though you are under a time bomb .......grab your tools and accessories, forgetting the fact that your body is not as flexible as the trapeze artist from circus, only to end up with a sprain and pain on your back…….you roll on the floor crying for help, your hubby dear rushes to the place, trying to lift you up, though trying his maximum to control the laughter , seeing your funny facial expressions……finally you try to bring your body in control…..starts styling up the piece of food, only to come to the stark realization that it’s all messed up….try to do a make-over but more mess and finally come up with some last minute damage control techniques and ask your hubby, to receive a confidence boosting comment, ”how does it look….is it ok?” Mr. Husband looks at the beauty you have made, analyses from all the sides and corners and speaks out the unthinkable,” hmm…something is missing….an incomplete feeling…” ….clock is still ticking…….convincing talks go on between Mr & Mrs…..finally you notice that only 5 minutes is left before you pack up and leave the place… the selfish blogger in you suddenly pops up its head and compels you to ask your husband, to click some snaps, meanwhile you get ready to go, to meet your friend, and at the end of the day you see your friend’s face brightening up with full of surprise and smiles , eyes showing all that joy and happiness and grabbing you to give a hug….Have you ever been in such a situation, being part of all that happiness ???

Well, that’s pretty much the story behind this cake!! This was made for an elderly friend of mine, D, who was turning 81 last month, whom I got lucky to meet early this spring and she touched my heart and left her handprints, sharing the story of her life and passing a bit of her passion too. D is a cancer survivor; the disease damaged her ability to speak normally and chew properly and to worsen her burden, she also suffers from arthritis and yet she continues her passion in life and earns her livelihood and drives around on her own, without depending anyone and more importantly without complaining about her plight!! Directly or indirectly, she helped me look at life with more hope and positive thoughts…….taught me what independence and self sufficiency really mean……taught me what passions mean to one. Now when I get a minor toothache and am forced to chew with one side, I think of this brave strong woman. Honestly, standing there, looking at the surprise and happiness on D’s face that day, really filled my heart!

Ingredients for Yellow Cake (Makes two 8” inch cakes)
(Recipe Source: “Wedding Cakes You Can Make” by “Dede Wilson”)
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • ¾ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare cake pan by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the sides and sprinkle lightly with flour.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; Set aside.
  • Beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes and add sugar and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes ; scrape down the bowl once or twice and then continue beating.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, allowing each eggs to absorb fully with the mixture; scrape down the bowl a couple of times.
  • Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternatively with the milk and flour, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beat until smooth on low –medium speed after each addition.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pan and level the tops with a spatula. Bake for about 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted shows a few moist crumbs or the sides of the cake have begum to come away from the sides of the pan, showing a very light golden colour. Cool on racks in pans for 8 minutes before unmoulding.
Buttercream Recipe
(Source: Recipe By Tami Smith from on the link to go to the page for the recipe.)

Note: I halved the original recipe of Tami Smith, to reduce the quantity, so as to avoid refrigerating the leftover and it yields the right quantity for this cake.

Ingredients for Praline
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dry toasted almonds or cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Prepare caramel by heating and melting sugar along with water, specified in the ingredient list, until they turn medium brown. Keep swirling the pan but do not stir. When sugar is completely melted and bubbles start coming up and if it has reached the colour you want, turn off the stove and add the dry toasted nuts to it, and pour them onto to a non-stick aluminum foil or a lightly oil coated aluminum foil sheet, placed on a cookie sheet and let it set. While pouring the caramel coated nuts, make sure that a thick layer is not created. When completely dry, crush the caramel coated nut sheet using a rolling pin and then powder them in a food processor or in the smallest jar of a mixer/blender. (Note: Hot caramel can create serious burns, so make sure that you play safe and kids are not around while preparing it. The taste of the caramel depends mainly on the intensity of the colour. If the caramel turns too dark brown, then it will be quite bitter and it is better not to use that batch for this particular cake. Target for a medium brown colour.)
Moistening syrup
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ to ½ tsp vanilla extract or any flavored liquor or citrus juice
  • Boil water in a pan and add sugar and let it boil until sugar melts. Turn off the stove. Just before assembling the cake, add vanilla essence and mix well to the syrup. (Note: Start adding the vanilla essence in small drops as it can be overpowering; add to taste. If you are using flavored liquor, use 1 tablespoon only, just before assembling the cake.)
Assembling the Cake: When the cakes are completely cool and ready to assemble, get the counter-top ready with baked cakes, buttercream, praline and moistening syrup. Place one round cake on a cake board or a plate and sprinkle about 3 tbsp moistening syrup. Pour some buttercream on top of that and make a thick layer of frosting. Sprinkle praline generously on top of the frosting and then place the second cake and wet the top cake with 3 tbsp moistening syrup. Cover the top and side of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream and chill for 2 hours. This is done mainly to lock the crumbs and to get a smooth surface when you apply the final coating. After this stage, apply the final thick later of buttercream and smoothen the top and sides of the cake quite well with a spatula and immediately after that cover the whole cake with powdered praline. Use your hands to apply the praline.

Baking Schedule I followed:
  • Baked the cake one day in advance and when completely cool, double wrapped in a plastic wrap and kept at the room temperature.
  • Made buttercream and praline just before assembling everything. You can make the buttercream in advance and refrigerate as well. If you made the frosting in advance make sure that you beat it vigorously with a heavy spoon before using to take away the spongy texture.

This has become one of our family favorites and I have received requests for the recipe after that get-together. I have made this cake twice and from my experience, one good slice is pretty impressive for any informal gathering or small birthday parties or tea-time get-togethers. The cake provides a balanced and neutral platform to absorb the flavour of the buttercream and praline and for the same reason, I feel it will go well with any other more predominant flavours. The yellow cake is soft but it is not extremely moist, like the ready-made cake mix. From my experience, I have noticed that the cake tends to become dry if you overcook the cake even 3 or 4 minutes more but moistening syrup will bring it back to its soft texture. Tamy’s buttercream recipe has been my loyal companion ever since I tried it. I am pretty happy with its consistency and taste.
A bite into the soft cake feeling the crunchiness of the caramel and richness of the buttercream is quite satisfying.

If you are not planning to layer the cake, then there is no need for moistening syrup, in which case make sure that cake is not baked more than the specified time.

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. Dear Shn, It was as usual fun to read your first paragraph but the second para touched me a lot. I am totally moved. You have done a wonderful job! you cake looks as pretty as your heart. very beautiful writeup.

  2. OMG what a drama :D But all worth the effort. Beautiful cake and your friend is lucky to ahve you

  3. A wonderful cake for your friend, Shn. She must be so happy, really! :)

  4. Shn, wish I had a baker friend like you, cake looks so good

  5. Your cake making drama had me in splits, I could just imagine the whole scene, and then I read about D... She must be so lucky to have someone like you in her life to care enough to bake such a beautiful cake for her!

  6. Very touching gesture to your friend. With all that hurry-burry, you did a great job.

  7. mishmash,
    Beautiful cake and u ahve done a great job for that wonderful friend.

  8. Belated Happy B'day to D and hats off to her! And what a lovely cake you prepared!! Is this the so called "rushed job"? If this is the result of your rushed preparation, then what would be the outcome, if you had a lot of time on your hand :-D. It just looks divine, Shn! and your hubby did a great job of decorating and photographing!

  9. Oh sorry, my bad! Reading it first, i though your better half decorated it! It was you after all, with all the pain.....hugs to you, dear! despite all that, you created a masterpiece! Hope your sprain is better now.

  10. That is such an inspirational story, Shn! And you are a kind and generous person :)

  11. Wow..the cake looks yummy..

    haha the pre-time was amusing...

  12. My birthday is exactly 2 weeks away... I'd love to have you send me one of these :-))

    Looks beautiful Shn

  13. Shn, very nice of you to make the effort. Hope Ms D gets better

  14. Oh Shn,such a deeply moving narration, this time &such a lovely present to ure friend;that was great!
    How can't she brighten up with joy &happiness when u bake this with so much love&care!
    Really,I didn't expect what u were coming to while reading that funny episode.

  15. Shn, alls well that ends well!! A beautiful masterpiece!

  16. The cake looks pretty good to believe all that prelude :D The hug from your friend would have made all the effort look so miniscule. You are a thoughtful person :)

  17. that looks so awesome! i love that flower next to the pic too..

  18. A wonderful cake for your friend MM. More than the cake your thoughts impressed me! The cake looks so professional. Viji

  19. A wonderful cake for your friend MM. More than the cake your thoughts impressed me! The cake looks so professional. Viji

  20. a touching story, Shn. beautiful cake! you have made your friend really happy!!!

  21. Excelent cake. Your friend is sure lucky to have you as a friend too.

  22. Beautiful cake shn, you are great friend girl!:))

  23. are you a sweetheart or what :) me the same exact scene happens everytime we go to a potluck..i always have to do something last min....

  24. wow cant believe that you made this rushing around... and D is so lucky to have you bake this cake... great great post

  25. Yet another stunning cake.Did u just recently acquire all this abilities or did you have it 10 years ago and intentionally deprieve us of the joy of biting into the delicious cake. "Too long a sentence" a literature student would say. I like praline topping a lot. So maybe I will make this. Seems simple enough for a lazy person like me to make.

  26. Wonderful write up with the story!!..the recipe is described well whcih can be a great help to not-much-exp bakers like me...thanks for sharing this great recipe,Shn..
    Visit mine when you have time..:)

  27. you have explained splendidly about caremalising sugar and making sugar coated nuts..!!!NOUGHAT in otherwords..

  28. I could feel the two of you rushing with the last minutes touch ups and taking snaps, in front of my eyes. Beautiful story and also beautiful reason to bake for your friend. I am really touched!

  29. Shn, your cake looks wonderful...
    will try and let you know..
    BTW I tried your chicken roast today.. The taste was perfect and so was the aroma... But for some reason, I didn't get the dark brown color though... Anyways thanks again for posting such lovely recipes..

  30. what a sweet gesture and what a gorgeous cake!!!

  31. mishmash......Excellent as usual......Bookmarked the recipe dear...:-)

  32. shn your cake looks lovely,thanks for sharing the recipe.will try this:)

  33. That is awfully nice of you shn! Beautiful cake

  34. Shn, three cakes in four posts. We're going to have to call you the Crazy Cake Lady. : ) I love layer cakes; yours are the bomb. Beautiful, inside and out - like you.

  35. Ohh dear...its always this scene at my home. When it matters the most, I have a natural talent to mess it up :(. I felt like you were narrating a story from my kitchen :).

    You are so sweet to bake this amazing cake for your fried. She indeed looks like an awesome person.

    Your cake looks beautiful.

  36. Two words for you, dear Shn.

    Stop That!!!!! :):):)

    (I'm so hungry. My birthday is in January. Please send me this cake. All these words en parens don't count toward the two ;) )

  37. quite different from the regular funny anecdotes you mention in the prequel to the delicacy..Maybe thats what they call food cooked with love..really glad and I can understand how glad your friend might have been!!!

    The thoughts are as sweet as the cake!

  38. The cake looks delicous Shn... I am drooling over it!!! Ur friend is a lucky one! :)

  39. Oops! Three cake posts in five. My mistake. Impressive nonetheless and truly lovely.

  40. The cake is lovely and so is the thought behind it.

  41. Thats exactly what I call mouth-yummy-watering!!

  42. beautiful cake for a wonderful are a good friend..

  43. Shn!

    You rock. I love this post, I've been reading and re-reading and laughing - you made my morning :)

    P.S.: That cake looks delightful!

  44. very well narated Shn :) samething happens when i call over someone for dinner but i never get to click the photos at times !
    The cake is looking wonderfull i would love to try the praline and syrup sometime :)

  45. Shn, I love the stream-of-consciousness feel of this post--too funny! And your cake is superb. You're a gem!

  46. wonderful post mishy... it brought smile and tears at the same time:)

  47. what a lovely post...and I'm captivated by your beautiful cake!

  48. Sharmi,if you meet D, then you would be really moved, she is really a nice and warm woman. Thanks dear !

    Sandeepa, I should say I was lucky to meet D :)

    Anh, yes she was :)

    Sreelu, you have me , sweetie :)

    Sig, thanks dear :)As I told Sandeepa, I was the one who got lucky to meet someone like D.

    Pravs, thank you, my friend :)

    Prajusha, thanks so much :)

    Musical, yes I am quite alright now :) Thanks for asking :)

    Nabeela, am I ?:P

    Rachel, Thanks so much :)

    Raaga,do mail me you address, let me see if I can fedex it to you ;)

    Sra, she is in good spirits and having almost a regular life , except for her speech incapabilities.

    Liz, yes dear, I was really happy that I made the effort as she did not expect it at all and hence the surprise was sweeter :)

    Meeta, thank you :)

    Jyothsna,thanks sweetie and you have to trust me , it did happen at my place :)

    Nags, thanks :)

    Vcuisine, you are always encouraging in your comments, Viji. Btw, who's MM ?

    Lissie,Happy Cook, Asha, thanks a ton, friends :)

    Rajitha,hahah, you should tell me that :) hmm...last minute potlucks are always stressful.

    Rachna, thanks a bunch :)

    Mocha, hahah thats exactly what I thought after reading the first para...may be I will get into guinness records, eh ?:P Why 10 years , I did not know how to make rice 5 years back, pinneyano cake undakkunnathu?? :)))

    Bharathy, hope you try and do let me know how it turned out.

    Padma, :)) Thanks for the encouragament, friend .

    Shilpa,Am so glad to receive your feedback and very happy that your family enjoyed it. Dark brown colour comes from sauteeing this dish for a longer time, in very low heat and stirring continuously. It takes time.Please do try other recipes of your choice too :)

    Bee, Sirisha, Thanks a lot :)

    Paati, do let me know how it turned out for you. Btw, are you a blogger? Cant view your link.

    Roopa, thanks :)

    Susan, hahahha I have a couple more cakes in my drafts, i guess i will wait for some time before publishing it , eh ? :))Thanks so much dear :)

    Shilpa, hmm....this happens everywhere I guess. But I dont believe that you mess up your cakes as your creations are always beautiful. Thanks for dropping by and appreciate your support :)

    Linda, heheh....gimme your address...let me see what I can do :)))

    Mathew, sometimes CJJ asks me if I missed an ingredient called "love" when I serve a staple food as sometimes I will be pre-occupied with something and even if I use the same measurement it wont taste all that good, so I always believe that cooking with love is indeed a real thing. Thanks, Pal :)

    Cinnamon, Sunita, MM,Seena, Thanks a lot :)

    Kaykat, glad I could cheer up your morning :)

    Roopa,take the pics before your guests arrive :) praline is very tasty, try it :)

    Susan, ohh myyy thats such a great compliment..:blushing: :)

    Sia, glad you enjoyed it and sorry to make you cry :)

    Anne, that means a lot to me as it comes from quite a talented and creative cake decorator. Thanks! :)


  49. hahaha ...yes it sounds very familiar ! specially the bit ..." is it ok !" gosh i torment my hubby with that line everytime ...n he has this look on his my wife is retarded i still get another chance ! hahaha ...
    Your cake looks fantastic. Congrats to your friends 81st !

  50. Oh that is soooo sweet of you! Love Love Love....that cake is full of love...

  51. ohh lady ...i missed this ....awesome words to day ...u alwasy rock with these cakes .....excellent pic

  52. BkWq3t Your blog is great. Articles is interesting!

  53. Dear Shn

    I love your blog and I think u are one talented baker. I love your cake decorations..they are amazing. I have been looking for a really really good moist dark chocolate cake...I know there are tonnes of recipes out there but do you have one that u can share with us... Thanks

  54. Kate, it happens everywhere right :)) thanks dear!

    Inji Pennu, :)) danku!

    Deepa, your comments always give a morale -boost :)

    Online Pharmacy, Thanks!

    Samuel, Thank you for those sweet words and happy to see your confidence in trying out recipes from this blog. I will try to blog one chocolate cake recipe,as soon as I can, but I dont know if thats what you re expecting or the one suiting your palate. Anyway, I will blog that, in the meantime, you can try the black forest cake recipe, which is really moist especially with the addition of whipped cream. Thanks!


  55. that a was a very sweet gesture from u n yours cake looks yummy too :o)...
    is it possible for you to post the buttercream recipe too i tried searching for this but looks like i have to be paid member to view it .I would love to make this cake for my hubby bday which is next month...or if it no trouble can you email me the buttercream recipe at be very grateful if u could ...thanksssssssssss

  56. that was a very moving gesture from you and your cake looks so yummy ti possible for you to post the buttercream recipe too..i did search for it in the link that you gave but it looks like i have to be a paid member to view it..I was thinking of making this cake for my hubby bday which comes next if it is not asking too much can u mail me the recipe at be very grateful...thankssssssssssssssssss

  57. Hi Shn, Starting with best wishes for the Year ahead. Wish to see more of your recipes (which are a real delight to read and to try as well) in the coming months. Tried your christmas cake, which by the way turned awsome and well appreciated amongst family and friends. Wanted to try your Praline Buttercream Yellow Cake for my son's birhtday coming sunday, but the buttercream recipe is available only to Premium members. Is it possible for you to share the recipe over e-mail ( or if that is not possible to help me with another buttercream recipe..Would really appreicate the help...


  58. Smitha & Swapna & To all future readers: Buttercream recipe is from a a paid site and recipe is copyrighted and hence if you want that recipe, pls contact the respective website owner.


  59. Thanks Shn, appreciate it much. Swapna

  60. Hey Shn,
    Tried your praline cake but hit a dead end looking for a butter cream recipe. Finally concocted something and the cake came our real good. But I do believe this is an incomplete recipe since the butter cream recipe is a paid site, and not all of us can afford to pay up. Hope you can come up with an alternative.

  61. hello mishmash...
    am new to ur page.....u r really superb.....i tried this cake for ma daughter's came out well ...all ma guests were asking abt the recepe...

    thank u thanku so much ....

  62. Hi Shn,

    Nice recipe. I tried the china grass pudding too..came ot well..

    Me being a lazy cook....I used almond n cashew 'chikki' instead of making 'caramelised' cashew.

  63. Hi..Shn..Your cake looks so yummy n delicious !!

  64. Hi MishMash, this is my first comment in your blog. But I really like all your recipes and tried some. Everything I tried came out very well. For all the potluck parties, I make something from your blog especially non-veg items and my friends appreciate me. All those times I said "Kudos to kitchen mish mash" :):)
    I was trying out this cake and then I noticed that vanilla extract is missing in the preparation steps of the cake. But it is mentioned along with the ingredients used. If I am correct, please correct the recipe.

  65. Dear Shn,

    I don't find any of ur updates recently...quite missing ur posts...infact it was ur blog that inspired me to start baking and blogging....i still droool over ur pictures...had tried out few of ur recipes and almost all were a big hit!!!btw,I am gonna try this cake for my b'day which is nxt wk...i know lyf with kids around is quite a handful but plsss start blogging again whenever u get the tym...waiting for new recipes from u....till then bye...


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