Chocolate Praline Layer Cake Recipe

What's better than a chocolate cake? A chocolate layer cake smothered in whipped cream frosting with an added element inside. Nestled in this gorgeous, decadent chocolate layer cake happens to be a delightful surprise that will catch you off guard at first bite. But after you recognize what the flavor is, you won't be able to put that fork down.

With a smattering of dark chocolate chips sprinkled across the whipped cream frosting, this cake already tastes fantastic. Once you take a big bite of this luscious layered cake, you'll discover that buried inside the whipped cream filling sandwiched between both layers are homemade pralines! Recipe developer Kristen Carli describes pralines in this chocolate layer cake as lending the perfect salty kick to this scrumptious and sweet cake.

"It's very elegant indeed. This cake is perfect for special occasions or when you want to wow a crowd," Carli says. "It's a delicious chocolate, nutty cake. I love the whipped cream, as well."

Gather up the ingredients

As elegant as this chocolate praline layer cake looks, you'll be surprised to know that you won't be toiling away in the kitchen preparing it. Carli's recipe only requires 30 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes of baking time. The 12 servings this cake yields will be snatched up quite quickly once your family or guests lay eyes upon the beautiful dessert.

For this recipe, you'll need butter, light brown sugar, heavy whipping cream, chopped pecans, a package of chocolate cake mix, eggs, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, a package of cook-and-serve chocolate pudding mix, powdered sugar, and dark chocolate chips.

What are pralines?

Pralines are any chopped nut covered in a sugary sweet, buttery concoction. A praline is a Southern delicacy usually made with pecans, butter, milk, corn, syrup, and sugar. According to River Street Sweets, the praline is believed to have roots reaching back to the 17th century when this special treat and an important ingredient in this recipe was first created by a chef who worked for a French diplomat. No matter who made them or when, the pralines in this recipe provide a pleasant surprise with that first bite.

"The praline layer is perfectly salty and sweet. I love the combo! It also gives a nice crunch," Carli says.

The perfect pralines

While the oven is preheating to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, spray two nine-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Take out a medium-sized saucepan and place one stick of butter cut into cubes in it, along with a quarter cup of heavy cream and a cup of light brown sugar. Stir these ingredients together over medium heat until they are completely melted. Pour the sugary-sweet liquid into the greased cake pans and layer one and a half cups of chopped pecans all across the bottom of the cake pans. Immerse them in the butter-sugar blend, and spread them out as evenly as possible.

Whip up the chocolate cake

Take out your stand mixer and in the bowl add the contents of one package of chocolate cake mix, four eggs, a cup of whole milk, half a cup of sweetened condensed milk, a stick of softened butter, and one cup of cook-and-serve chocolate pudding mix. Mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Pour the cake batter in even amounts into both round cake pans over the sugary pecan mixture, and bake for 30 minutes. Use unsalted butter, and make sure to use cook-and-serve pudding mix — not instant.

"If you use instant, the cake will overflow and grow too much in volume," Carli said.

Mix up the fantastic frosting

While the round pans filled with delicious chocolate cake batter are in the oven, whisk three-quarters of a cup of heavy cream for approximately two minutes. Add in a quarter of a cup of powdered sugar, and continue to mix until the whipped cream has formed stiff peaks.

Because this frosting uses heavy whipping cream, which must be kept in the refrigerator, you'll need to keep any uneaten cake in the refrigerator, too. But we can't imagine that there will be any leftover slices once you serve this to your family or guests — it's that good!

Assemble the attractive cake

When the oven timer sounds, remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool. Using a butter knife or frosting spatula, gently remove the chocolate cake rounds from the baking pans and allow them to continue cooling. Place one of the chocolate cake rounds on a serving plate with the pralines on top. Spread half of the whipped cream across the top of this layer, then set the next chocolate cake round on top. Spread the remainder of the whipped cream across the top of the second layer. Sprinkle a quarter of a cup of dark chocolate chips across the top layer.

"I love dark chocolate chips that are 70 percent and up, but you can select any you like," Carli says.

Now serve and enjoy this gorgeous cake.

Chocolate praline layer cake directions
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Once you take a big bite of this layered cake, you'll discover that buried inside the whipped cream filling sandwiched between the layers are homemade pralines!
Prep Time
Cook Time
chocolate praline layer cake with chocolate chips on top
Total time: 1 hour
  • 2 sticks of butter, divided
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 package of chocolate cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package of cook-and-serve chocolate pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add 1 cubed stick of butter, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and brown sugar. Stir to combine over medium heat until all melted. Pour evenly into the prepared cake pans. Top evenly with pecans. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add cake mix, eggs, milk, sweetened condensed milk, 1 stick of softened butter, and pudding mix. Mix until combined. Pour evenly into both cake pans over pecan mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add 3/4 cup heavy cream. Using the whisk attachment, whisk for about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar. Continue to mix until the whipped cream has stiff peaks. Set aside.
  5. Remove cakes from pans. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Place one cake on a serving plate with pralines on top. Spread half of the whipped cream on top. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining half of whipped cream. Top with dark chocolate chips.
  7. Serve and enjoy.
Calories per Serving 736
Total Fat 51.5 g
Saturated Fat 23.6 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 154.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 66.2 g
Dietary Fiber 3.1 g
Total Sugars 47.1 g
Sodium 573.0 mg
Protein 8.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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