Pink Praline Chocolate Cake Recipe

Gâteau Chocolat Pralines Roses

[Pink Praline Chocolate Cake]

Pralines can be a confusing thing, considering that the same pretty word (It would make a cool name for a little girl, no? Or would this ruin her life you think?) is used for different confections.

The original praline is made by cooking almonds in melted sugar: the mixture is left to cool then reheated several times, forming an irregular crust of crispy chewy caramel around the tender almond. These pralines are usually golden brown and thus referred to as pralines brunes, but a coloring can be added to the sugar and then all bets are off. But praline is also the name given to Belgian chocolate bites with a smooth filling, sometimes made with pralin (a mixture of grilled almonds and cooked sugar, or ground brown pralines) and, this has to be said, often too cloying for my taste — I am a ganache girl at heart.

And then there is the pink praline. Often featured in specialties from Lyon, the pink praline could look to the untrained eye like a brown praline in pink clothing: it is an almond in sugar after all. But there is in fact one capital difference here: the sugar surrounding the almond is not caramelized. This gives the pink praline a unique kind of texture, quite different from the brown praline’s sweet stickiness: your teeth meet a slight resistance at first, but the powdery sugar coating quickly surrenders, crumbling in little flakes on your tongue, while you start chewing on the meaty almond.

Like anything pink and edible, this praline benefits from my unconditional adhesion. It is a fine candy to eat out of hand (particularly with coffee), but it can also be used as an ingredient in baking or cooking recipes: tarte aux pralines roses (a great classic, not unlike a pecan pie — recipe here), île flottante aux pralines roses (as tasted at Aux Lyonnais), brioche aux pralines roses (such as Pralus‘ famous Praluline), or a delicious magret de canard aux pralines roses (as tasted at the Café Fusion). Even Heston Blumenthal has featured pink praline tarlets in his tasting menu, that has to tell you something. The pink praline is like a magic wand, lending color and flavor and a tickling name to anything you choose to make — I’m sure even a pink praline meatloaf would be irresistible, but let me test that recipe first and I’ll get back to you.

G. Detou sells pink pralines in bulk, whole or pre-crushed (convenient and cheaper), and I had bought a bag of the latter a few months ago with the firm intention of making a tarte aux pralines roses. That tart hasn’t happened yet, but some of the pralines were put to good use in this pink praline chocolate cake, which I baked for my sister’s birthday party a few days ago. I had made her a chocolate and pistachio cake for her previous birthday, and since a chocolate cake is always well received, I decided to make yet another adaptation of my favorite coffeecake, moist and fluffy, using cacao powder, chocolate chips, and a good sprinkle of pink pralines on top. And who knows, maybe these two cakes — one green, one pink — are the first in a series of chocolate cakes using a different color of ingredient every year?

Gâteau au Chocolat et Pralines Roses

– 270 g (2 C) flour
– 2 tsp baking powder (1 envelope)
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 150 g (2/3 C) butter, at room temperature
– 300 g (1 1/4 C) white sugar
– 4 eggs
– 1 1/2 C (3 x 125 ml) plain yogurt or sour cream
– 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
– 60 g (1/3 C) chocolate chips
– 160 g (1 1/4 C) pink pralines, chopped — substitute regular pralines, or almonds and a sprinkle of brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Grease a 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan, preferably nonstick with a removable bottom.

In a food processor, mix together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add in the yogurts and vanilla extract, and mix again.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder. Add the flour mixture into the food processor and mix again until just combined (or blend it by hand in a large bowl if your food processor is, like mine, too tiny). Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the cake pan, and smooth out the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle with pink pralines. Put into the oven to bake for an hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let rest for five minutes on the counter, then remove from the pan and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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  • Victoria

    I too am a ganache girl! Thank you for these beautiful recipes and the stories, too.

  • Oh, that is absolutely lovely. Chocolate is beautiful and all, but sometimes it’s good to go ahead and dress it up extra pretty. If it tastes as good as it looks then it’s a real winner.

  • This brings to mind a candy bar I used to buy in the States called, I think, a Peanut Patty. It was a handful of peanuts surrounded by a very rich pink sugary, sort of praline-like, subtance. It is extremely sweet and rich but I used to occasionally crave it.

  • Just openned this site for me. It’s amazing! Great recipes that can’t be found on the cooking sites…
    Everything looks so tasty! I even don’t know how to begin! :)
    Thanks much!

  • Joan

    “Praline” as a name..I’d have no problem with that…anything dessert-related would be fine by me ANYthing after the mains…:-)

  • I have never heard of pralines with almonds — how strange! Here, especially in the southern U.S., praline refers to one of two fiercely debated pecan candies. One is pecans robed in crunchy sugar (often ground up for other purposes), and the other — my favorite — is a soft creamy candy with pecans in it. In Savannah, Georgia, I had white chocolate pralines of the latter type that made me cry. Unfortunately, soft pralines do not ship well…

    I shall have to try this almond praline business!

  • In the movie “where the heart is” one of Ashley Judd’s characters kids names is Praline, she also had Brownie.

  • There is a recipe for the soft type of american pralines at www. Beauty, Joy, They are much easier to make than I ever would have thought, so they won’t have to “travel well”, since they will all be eaten immediately at the preparation site.

  • Cindy

    I’m sure that was delicious. I love pralines, mine are red. First time I used pralines, I used pink ones, then I discovered that one of the shops in Montpellier were selling red ones. They taste much better. I’ll try this cake as soon as possible. I’ll also make a tart with pralins, must taste great.
    Lucky sister of yours, having a so delicious birthday cake.

  • latifa

    A great new look for a chocolate cake.

  • Des pralines roses! Quels souvenirs de quand j’étudiais à Lyon III. Dommage que je ne peux en obtenir ici au Québec. ll en va de même pour des coussins lyonnais dont je rêve depuis des mois.

  • cris

    a friend of mine is opening a restaurant in bethesda md to open soon ,the restautant /bakery name :praline.It feature pink wall and a praline candy maker ,the pink kinf as is his from lyon.He is a great pastry chef .restaurant phone 301 229 8180

  • Your cake looks fabulous! I love the contrast with the pink pralines against the dark cake. That would be fab with a flourless choco cake, huh?! Anyhow, am responding to your poste because I’m searching for recipes and/or ideas for cooking with floral essences. My bakery is hosting a dessert event this Valentine’s day centered around the theme of floral essences in desserts and am looking for ideas and or sources for different floral essences.

  • eg

    I’ve eaten at that Praline in Bethesda. Quite nice although my luncheon companion wouldn’t let me order dessert. Boooo!

  • premi

    I was googling for creamy coffee & praline Gateau recipe and came across this wonderful recipe. But could you let me know how to make the pink praline? Sure would love to impress my family and friends.


  • poinard


    I am living in florida

    Where can I find some pink pralines like in Lyon to cook
    Professional supplier I am opening a restaurant

    Thanks a lot for the info

    Valerie Poinard

  • Michael Korpiel

    Where or how can I purchase pink pralines?

  • Margo

    I came here from the link. I’d never heard of pink pralines before, and I did a little searching and found recipes for pralines that are just regular pralines with food coloring. But if I understand you correctly, the authentic pralines Lyonnaises (pardon me if my grammar is wrong; my French is “pas courant”), are not simple regular colored pralines. So there must be something different about the process, if I understand it correctly – there could also be ingredient differences too, I suppose. Do you know where I could get a recipe for authentic pink pralines if I wanted to try making them myself? Then, of course, I could use them in you very nice looking cake. Thanks.


    • I admit I’m not a praline expert, so I couldn’t quite explain the difference between pink pralines from Lyon and what you call “regular” pralines, but I’m pretty sure food coloring is used to make pink pralines pink. If you were to make a natural version, though, I understand beet juice is a potent colorer…

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