Reese Witherspoon’s Grandma Draper’s Sour Cream Cake With Praline Frosting
There’s no doubt that Reese Witherspoon is a huge fan of southern entertaining. The Oscar-winning actress, who recently started her own lifestyle brand, Draper James, is no slouch when it comes to throwing cocktails and dinner parties. While she claims she loves southern classics like fried chicken and sweet tea, she does have a favourite dessert made by her grandmother: her Sour Cream Cake.
“I am lucky to also know her as a friend, loving mama, and proper Southern girl through and through. You need look no further than her company, Draper James, where the pride she takes in her Nashville upbringing is on display in every monogrammed pillow and magnolia-printed top. Draper James was named after her grandparents, Dorothea Draper and William James, whom Reese credits with teaching her everything she knows about gracious Southern living,” says Witherspoon friend and Sprinkles cupcake founder Candace Nelson.
“Dorothea would spoil Reese with this stunningly delicious cake. Rich, decadent, and piled two tiers high, it’s perfect for a party. The cooked praline icing, sweet and almost sculptable, is ideal for etching feminine swooshes and swirls. As Reese would say, “Y’all, this cake is so good!”
In one of her recent baking books, Nelson shared Reese’s grandmother’s beloved Sour Cream Cake recipe.
SOUR CREAM CAKE:
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened, plus more for greasing
- 3 cups cake flour, plus more for flouring the pans
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups full-fat sour cream
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more if necessary
- 3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit, and butter the parchment. Flour the pans, coating the bottom and sides of each pan, then tap out the excess flour.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, then slowly add the eggs and beat until blended. Stir in one-third of the flour mixture until just blended, followed by half the sour cream mixture, then half the remaining flour mixture, the remaining sour cream mixture, and finally the remaining flour mixture until the batter is smooth and blended and no streaks of flour remain, 2 minutes total.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake until the cake springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack and then invert them onto cake rounds or another flat surface, such as a platter or revolving cake stand.
MAKE THE PRALINE FROSTING:
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cream, bring to a boil, then immediately pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and beat over medium speed until it reaches a spreadable consistency, adding more cream 1 tablespoon at a time if the frosting gets too thick.
Spread dollop ¾ cup of the frosting on one cake layer, then stack another layer on top. Still working quickly, frost the top and sides of the cake. Use a knife or offset spatula to create pretty peaks and waves.
Excerpted from the book THE SPRINKLES BAKING BOOK by Candace Nelson.