The Devil Wears Praline

June 07 , 2015 by: Amber Trudeau Cake, Icing, Pudding/ Mousse

…and that’s why we’re all going to hell. Vile tempter. We all have Kevin to blame for this one (both the actual dessert, and I’m completely giving credit where it’s due for this deliciously punny headline as well – thanks Kevin!).

We celebrated Kevin’s birthday last week, and as is my wont, I asked him what he’d like me to make him dessert-wise for his birthday. “Devil’s food cake” he promptly replied. “That’s it? Just Devil’s food cake?” I asked. “Yup”. Damn, I thought to myself, that sounds like the most straight up boring thing I could possibly make. Every time I’d try and make crazy suggestions to liven it up a little, he was just all like “Nope, just devil’s food cake.” I was practically vibrating with anxiety over making something so simple (read: boring). I…I…I can’t just make chocolate cake!!! That’s too “vanilla” 😉 and also, I’m not the hugest chocolate cake fan, so making something for which I have no real barometer to decide whether or not it’s any good (because even the greatest chocolate cake in the universe would still just be ok in my books) was just something I was finding difficult to fathom doing.

On the other hand, Kevin’s the birthday boy and I shouldn’t be hijacking his cake for myself. On the other other hand though, icing is delicious, and would be necessary for any birthday cake right? And thus I discovered my loophole! I had now found my way into sneakily doing something that was a bit of a step up from “boring old chocolate cake” (which is fine if you like that sort of thing…for which I have no ability to comprehend, but to each their own).

However, I obviously still wanted to keep in mind things I know Kevin likes. For example, he’s a huge Nutella fan – this photo is case in point (and I strongly suspect may be part of his reason for wanting to go back to Paris – look at the joy on that face 🙂 ):


“Thou shalt use hazelnut icing on this devilish cake! Only then will this cake be exorcised of some of it’s evil ways!” I heard a booming voice say from on high. “Exercise?” I said. “Well, maybe after you eat this cake that might be necessary, but no, I quite clearly said “exorcise” you foolish foolish girl.” Duly chastised for not listening very closely (I was distracted by the idea of hazelnut icing what can I say?), I had no desire to argue or disagree with the powers that be over what constituted the ideal topping for devil’s food cake. Maybe this was the universes’ way of balancing out the evil in the world. I had no interest in messing with the possibility of universal peace, so hazelnut icing it would be 😉

To super amp up the hazelnut chocolate combination, I made this a layer cake, and for between the layers, I made a hazelnut mousse. In the Devil’s food cake itself, I added hazelnut coffee, and for the icing, I made a homemade hazelnut praline butter. I was super happy with how the icing and mousse turned out (delicious in case you were wondering. Although really, what other word would follow a sentence like that? “I was super happy with how disgusting and vile this icing turned out”? said no one ever).

The cake as far as I was concerned tasted like chocolate cake (but as previously mentioned, I’m biased against it right from the start, even when it’s me making it). Kevin’s verdict on the other hand? “This is the greatest cake I’ve ever had, it’s even better than our wedding cake”. Our wedding cake was the previous holder of said honour, so I guess this is a good cake 🙂  (Also, thanks to my brother Lincoln for sending this photo to me!):

Cake Face

Also, in case you can’t tell by these photos, layer cakes for me always seem to end up weird and somewhat disastrous looking (which is why for my main photo I tried to strategically arrange the cake and my camera angle so that it wouldn’t be as noticeable. Ah trickery, this cake truly is the devil’s handiwork 😉 ). Sadly, this is by far the best looking layer cake I’ve ever made. Usually the icing starts sinking in between the layers in addition to the whole thing being insanely lopsided. The lopsided factor is obviously still quite present in this case. I need a cake level or something (is that a thing?). If you’re terrible at this like me however, my recommendation is just show people the whole cake from as much of a distance as you can get away with without arousing suspicion, and then cut it into pieces really fast so that no one is ever the wiser 😉


Devil’s Food Cake with Hazelnut Mousse and Praline Icing

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnut coffee
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cake/pastry flour (or all purpose is fine too)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups cane sugar
  • 4 egg replacer
  • 1/4 cup whole toasted hazelnuts for decorating (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoon finely chopped toasted hazelnut for decorating (optional)

Praline Paste Ingredients

  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts

Hazelnut Mousse Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk refrigerated overnight
  • 1/4 cup praline paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or you could probably even use your leftover coconut liquid from the mousse if you wanted)

Hazelnut Praline Icing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup praline paste
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cake Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 9x1inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with parchment paper (I highly highly recommend this to avoid your cake sticking to the pan, which is what happened to me when I did a cupcake test version of these. The cake is soft and moist, so it won’t exactly hold it’s shape if you try and muscle it out of your cake pan). Grease the paper and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the coffee and cocoa powder until smooth, then whisk in the almond milk and vanilla. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

4. In a large-ish bowl, beat together the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer. Add egg replacer one at a time, beating between each addition. Alternate beating in cocoa and flour mixtures (beat in each in a few batches).

5. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 15-20 minutes before carefully inverting cake onto a plate or cooling rack to allow to cool completely. Once cooled completely, if you’re not completing the cake right away, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until assembling.

6. If the top of your cake is rounded, cut off the rounded part so you have a flat surface as the top of whichever cake you’re going to use as the base layer. Spread the hazelnut mousse on the base layer and cover with the top layer, pressing down lightly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the mousse to firm up a bit more.

7. Using a spatula or icing knife, spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache over the entire cake (particularly on the sides where the layers meet). Refrigerate until ganache is firm.

8. Again using a spatula or icing knife, cover the cake in hazelnut praline icing. Decorate with whole toasted hazelnuts and chopped hazelnuts.

9. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Praline Paste Directions

1. Place sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Heat without stirring for 20 minutes. By this point the sugar should be relatively melted. If not, give it a quick stir occasionally and allow to keep heating on low until almost completely (if not completely) melted.

2. Remove from heat and add toasted hazelnut stirring quickly to coat completely. Spread out on wax paper or silpat and allow to harden.

3.Breakup into pieces and add to a food processor.

4. Grind until a smooth paste is formed.

Hazelnut Mousse Directions

1. Open refrigerated can of coconut milk and, using a spoon, scoop out the coconut cream. Reserve the liquid for another use (coffee, or add to oatmeal or anything else you want a bit of creaminess added).

2. In a small bowl, beat the coconut cream until smooth. Add hazelnut praline paste and maple syrup and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up a bit.

Chocolate Ganache Directions

1. Place chocolate chips in a small bowl.

2. Microwave (or heat on the stop top) almond milk until boiling/ close to boiling.

3. Pour over chocolate chips and allow to stand for 2 minutes.

4. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

5. Refrigerate until firm-ish (a spreadable consistency)

Hazelnut Praline Icing Directions

1. Using an electric mixer, combine butter, cream cheese and praline paste in a medium bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla and blend to incorporate.

2. Slowly add the icing sugar (you may need more or less depending on how thick and/or sweet you want it).

3. Refrigerate until slightly firmed up and ready to use.


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About Amber

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Hi, I'm Amber Trudeau.  I bake.... a lot.

I'm also vegan, and found that whenever I went out to a restaurant my dessert choices were limited to sorbet, sorbet, and sorbet.  So I started making my own desserts. I wanted them to taste good though - so my ultimatum was to make delicious desserts that also happen to be dairy-free and egg-free. Every week or so, I challenge myself to try something new.  To recreate some kind of traditional dessert that tastes amazing without using animal products.

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