Not Your Typical Holiday Dessert…Brandied Caramel & Pecan Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Brandied Caramel Pecan Poundcakes croppedI’m a baker, and I have been since my first 4-H cooking class when I was 8 years old.  Before I could boil pasta, I could make yeast bread and orange marmalade.  Before I could cook myself a meal, I was baking award winning cakes.  I’ve learned a lot since then.  I no longer have to survive on cookies, cakes, and quick breads.  However, baking is where I tend to shine.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing it so long; maybe I simply have a knack for it.  Either way, I love creating desserts…even though I’m not the person who craves sweets or even likes fudge.  (No, I don’t like fudge…or divinity…or marshmallows…or anything that is overly sweet.)  

Over the years, my baking has grown from youth competitions in 4-H & FFA to adult competitions with APC (American Pie Council) and WFC (World Food Championships).  My baking has grown from special occasions only to nearly everyday of the week.  My baking has changed from simple cakes, cupcakes, and cookies to inventive desserts and interesting flavor combinations. Since the first time I made finals at WFC, I constantly “test” ideas.  Sometimes, it’s a totally new idea; sometimes, it’s a new combinations of flavors; sometimes, it’s a new way to think about an old favorite.

With that said, have you ever considered pound-cake cupcakes?

Brandied Caramel & Pecan Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cake                                                                          

1 ½ c. butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese, softened

3 c. sugar

6 large eggs

3 c. plain flour

1/8 tsp salt

1 TBSP vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended.  Stir in vanilla.  Spoon batter into greased & floured cupcake pans.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until wooden tooth pick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove and cool completely.

Brandied Caramel & Pecan Sauce

2 c. sugar

1 ½  c. heavy cream

1/3 c. brandy

2 tsp lemon juice

 2 c. toasted pecans

In a dry heavy saucepan, cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and golden.  Cook while swirling pan until deep golden.  Remove pan from heat.  Carefully add cream , bourbon, lemon juice, and pecans.  Return pan to heat and simmer sauce, stirring until caramel is dissolved.  About 5 minutes.  Pour sauce into a bowl and cool slightly.  Spoon nuts and a small amount  of sauce under and over pound cakes.

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