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I entered this recipe in a local cooking contest many years ago and it was first runnerup to the winner of the dessert category. I think the original recipe came from the Imperial Sugar Company in Sugarland, Texas but I made a few changes to suit my tastes.
- 2 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar (1 1/2 for cake; the other two halves for burnt sugar syrup)
- 1⁄2 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon praline liqueur (optional)
- 1 1⁄2 cups pecans, chopped &,toasted
- 3⁄4 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
- In small heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat 1/2 cup granulated sugar until melted and light caramel in color, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat; slowly and carefully stir in 1/2 cup boiling water and praline liqueur until blended.
- Refrigerate this burnt sugar syrup to cool.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour a 9-inch fluted tube pan or bundt cake pan.
- To toast the pecans, heat a dry medium sized skillet over very low heat.
- Add pecans and stir frequently for about 3-5 minutes or until pecans are golden brown.
- Set aside to cool, reserving 1/2 cup pecans for topping.
- In large bowl using a mixer at medium speed, combine butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, cooled burnt sugar syrup, eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- Mix for about 4 minutes until thoroughly blended and smooth.
- Stir cooled 1 cup pecans into cake batter.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan; bake 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
- Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Remove cake from pan; cool completely on rack.
- Sprinkle cake with confectioner's sugar, if desired.
- Set aside.
- In small heavy sauce pan over medium heat, heat the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar until melted and light caramel in color, stirring frequently.
- Using spoon, drizzle the burnt sugar over cake; sprinkle 1/2 c.
- pecans on top and let stand about 5 minutes to cool and to allow the burnt sugar to set.