3/4 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Dash of salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
How to Make It
To prepare cake, preheat oven to 350°.
Place the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and beat just until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between 2 (8-inch) round metal cake pans coated with baking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare mousse, place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 4 minutes). Carefully stir in milk and 1 teaspoon melted butter (mixture will bubble and caramelized sugar will harden and stick to spoon); cook 1 minute or until sugar melts. Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until thick and bubbly (about 1 minute), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in bourbon, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and dash of salt. Pour into a bowl; cover and chill for 20 minutes. Uncover and fold in one-third of whipped topping. Gently fold in remaining whipped topping.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread mousse over cake, leaving a 1-inch border around outside edge. Top with remaining cake layer.
To prepare topping, place brown sugar and the next 5 ingredients (through dash of salt) in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook until a candy thermometer registers 234° (about 3 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in chopped pecans and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Drizzle over top of cake, spreading it out over edges. Let stand until topping is set.
I would not make this cake again. The filling isn't stiff enough and the bourbon is too strong. The worst part is that the topping was impossible to cut through, which made the cakes slide off from each other.
I disagree with some of the previous comments-I thought it was delicious. Next time I will double the filling since it wasn't enough to infuse flavor through the cool whip (but I also didn't have enough bourbon on hand the first time). I couldn't find dark corn syrup so my topping wasn't as dark and it defiantly wasn't runny, but it was delicious. I also didn't toast the nuts, but I will definitely try it next time.
This cake is not worth the time. The cake part is nothing special, and the filling and topping are not so great either. There is very little margin of error in the filling and topping recipes, so I would discourage novice cooks from even trying this recipe. In making the filling, one can over cook the sugar, as well as cause the sugar mixture to lump up if the milk is not warm enough. If the topping is slightly over cooked, it has a granular consistency. And it is hard to get an accurate reading of the thermometer due to the low volume of ingredients in the pot.
This cake wasn't bad, but I doubt I'll make it again. I made it for my husband's birthday and he wasn't crazy about it. He thought there would be a thicker frosting instead of a soft caramel glaze. I didn't have bourbon on hand, so I just used a little more vanilla. I also didn't toast the pecans for the topping since my husband doesn't like toasted nuts (although I did toast the pecans for the cake batter). The filling was good, although after making the caramel filling and chilling it for 20 minutes, it was lumpy after gently folding in the Cool Whip. The taste was good though. My cake didn't turn out as dark as the picture, but it was still pretty. Again, good flavor, but not exciting.
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