This quick cake was inspired by New Orleans praline candies, which are made with pecans and caramelized brown sugar. The coconut milk adds a subtle nutty taste, but heavy cream is a fine substitute.
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Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Stir in 1/3 cup of the sugar, the pecans and the chocolate chips. In another bowl, beat the egg with the coconut milk and the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 22 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before inverting and cutting it into wedges.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons of water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a moistened pastry brush. Cook the sugar until it becomes a medium-amber, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, carefully stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the heavy cream. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the cake wedges and serve.
The cake can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature before serving. The caramel can be kept at room temperature overnight.
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