Pecan pie pop­corn naked cake

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - LORRAINE SPECIAL -

I’m a judge for a show on the Food Net­work in the US called the Hol­i­day Bak­ing Cham­pi­onship and I learn a lot from the con­tes­tants. This is called a naked cake, so named be­cause it con­tains no cloak of but­ter­cream to cover its naked crumb or um­brella of fon­dant to hide its nu­dity – it’s de­light­fully rude, just like this com­bi­na­tion of pop­corn, pecan and rich creamy fill­ing.

SERVES 12-20

250g pecan nuts 350g but­ter, soft­ened (I use salted) 325g soft light brown sugar 7 medium eggs 4 tbsp whole milk or wa­ter seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla ex­tract 325g self-rais­ing flour ½ tsp bak­ing pow­der 100g tof­fee pop­corn (I use But­terk­ist)

FOR THE BUT­TER­CREAM 75g but­ter, soft­ened 250g full-fat cream cheese (I use Philadel­phia) 125g ic­ing sugar (sifted if lumpy)

EQUIP­MENT 3 x 20cm round loose-bot­tomed cake tins stand mixer or hand-held elec­tric whisk (op­tional)

1 Pre­heat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and line the cake tins with bak­ing parch­ment. Put the pecan nuts on a bak­ing tray and roast in the oven for 8-10 min­utes, check­ing them reg­u­larly and giv­ing the tray a good shake half­way through cook­ing to en­sure they cook evenly. Re­move them from the oven and leave to cool, then chop roughly and set aside. 2 To make the sponge, cream to­gether the but­ter and light brown sugar for 5 min­utes un­til light and fluffy. You can do this in a stand mixer or us­ing a hand-held elec­tric whisk. You could also do it by hand, but it does take time and lots of el­bow grease! When the mix­ture is light and fluffy, add three of the eggs and half the milk or wa­ter, the vanilla and half the flour and beat un­til just com­bined. Add the re­main­ing four eggs, milk or wa­ter and flour, as well as the bak­ing pow­der, and stir, mix­ing as lit­tle as pos­si­ble so that the cakes re­main light and fluffy. Us­ing a spat­ula, fold in the toasted pecan nuts. 3 Di­vide the mix­ture among the lined tins and bake for 30-35 min­utes, or un­til a skewer in­serted in the cen­tre of each cake comes out clean. Once the cakes are baked, re­move them from the oven and leave to cool com­pletely in the tins. 4 When the cakes have cooled, make the fill­ing. Mix the but­ter and cream cheese in a large bowl along with the ic­ing sugar. Be care­ful not to over-stir, as the cream cheese thins if it is over­worked. If the but­ter­cream does get a lit­tle runny, just place it in the fridge to firm up a bit. 5 Put a blob of the but­ter­cream on a cake stand or serv­ing plate and put the first cake layer on top of it. This will stop the cakes from mov­ing around too much when you are lay­er­ing. Spread a third of the but­ter­cream over the top of the first cake and re­peat with the other cakes, fin­ish­ing with a layer of the but­ter­cream on the top. Then pile the tof­fee pop­corn on top and serve. ➤

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