January 17, 2022
It was so cold in New York this weekend that even the dog refused to go outside. But the ovens were on in my kitchen and its warm and toasty in here. I think cold days are perfect for baking and this weekend I decided to improve an old favorite of mine.
Pure Maple Syrup makes this cake a sweet sensation. While the cake is effortless to make, the syrup elevates it to a new level. Not too sweet, with a hint of the winter. Say thank you to that syrup.
Also, This is a single layer cake. You see, I LOVE single layer cakes. They are easy to make and easy to frost and you still have baked something truly special. Go ahead and double the recipe if you are looking for a double layer cake, but truly this cake is perfect as is.
The frosting is over the top. While yes, it is a buttercream, and my kids dislike buttercream, this was a hit. The cake:frosting proportion is perfect, and the addition of small bits of pecans adds texture and interest. I own something called maple extract which if you own, can be added to the frosting. It is not worth buying for this as you would only need 1/2 teaspoon, but it is an interesting flavor to keep in your pantry. I found it on Amazon.
Maple Cake with Maple Pecan Frosting
For the Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
For the Frosting
1/2 cup pecans, toasted (A must! I use the toaster oven to toast the pecans. You can also use a skillet or toast them in the oven)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
pinch kosher salt
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with 2 inch sides with baking spray. Dust with flour, tapping out the excess into the sink. Also, use parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. (see photo)
NOTE: This cake will spill over if the sides of your pan are not inches high. Alternatively you can use a 9 inch square pan. I didn’t have one to try this with so just monitor the baking time if you go with this option because it may be different.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter, maple syrup, and sugar on medium, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Don’t worry if the mixture doesn’t look smooth. It will look almost curd like and lumpy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the vanilla.
With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 batches. Alternate the flour with 2 additions of the sour cream. Beat until just combined. Give the batter few good stirs with your rubber spatula to make sure everything is combined. Transfer batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Bake 55-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn it out onto a wire rack. The cake must cool completely before icing it.
For the Icing
Chop up the toasted pecans with a knife or food processor. (See photo to see how small my pieces were.)
In a large bowl of a standing mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 3-5 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl once or twice to make sure all the butter is creamy. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the maple syrup. Beat well.
Add the rest of the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup, and the maple extract, if using, Beat well. Add the salt.
Add the chopped pecans when they are completely cool, and beat until combined.
Ice the cake using an offset spatula. If you want to decorate the top with pecan halves like I did, toast about 1 cup of halves. Let them cool completely. Add to the top of the cake.