Sweet Maple Nut Cake

When we lived in Vermont, I had real maple syrup for the very first time. Well, that’s not entirely true… I’d had it before but it had been low quality and I was convinced I didn’t like it. Then we moved to The Maple Syrup Capital of the World: Vermont.

The whole maple sugar process in Vermont is such a part of life. Even after living there only two years, we knew when it was time for the lines to go up; time for the steam to start pouring from the sugar houses.It was one of my favorite things about Vermont. In fact, we lived right across the street from a big, beautiful farm/bed and breakfast that had it’s own sugar house! There was maple syrup, maple sugar, and maple candy everywhere you turned. It was wonderful! I never came across a maple cake, though. I never attempted one either.

I have to admit, at that time my cooking and baking skills were in the toddler stage. Vermont was where I made my first fondant cake, baked my first 100% from scratch cupcakes, and roasted my first whole chicken. I’d been cooking for a few years, but I’ve come an awfully long way since then. Now, for some reason, I have been dying to try making a maple cake. Maybe it’s the tropical air making me nostalgic for cooler whether and Autumnal flavors, but I finally couldn’t resist any longer!

Boy-oh-boy! Am I ever glad I finally made it, too! It’s like all of the best flavors of fluffy pancakes rolled up with all the deliciousness of cake! I know, right?! Yummm!! It was easy to make too! I decided to make the decorations as easy and delicious as the cake, and buttercream all the way…maple buttercream, no less!

**Instructions for converting this to a gluten-free cake are included in the recipe!!!**

This delicious cake is made with eggs, baking soda, salt, baking powder, maple syrup, vanilla, milk, maple sugar (can substitute with brown sugar), unsalted butter (softened), sugar, walnuts, and cake flour.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the syrup and milk together; set aside.

In another large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed, and beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla.

Sprinkle about one-third of the flour over the batter and mix until just combined. Add half of the syrup mixture and beat until combined, then scrape the bowl. Add another third of the flour, mixing until just incorporated, then add the remaining syrup mixture and beat until just combined. Finally, add the remaining flour and beat the mixture until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl, then divide the mixture evenly into eight-inch round pans lined with parchment.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

If necessary, use a knife to level the cake layers.

For the frosting, you need unsalted butter (softened), confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt, maple syrup, and heavy cream.

Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla, sugar, and syrup. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for four minutes.

Place about a third of a cup of the frosting on the layer and spread it to the edges. Stack the remaining layers, filling them the same way.

Before icing the cake, trim the sides, if they need to be evened out.

When I do an all buttercream cake, I like to pre-ice the cake with a thin layer of frosting, then I chill it for about 30 minutes before putting the “real” layer of frosting on. Just frost the cake as usual, once it’s chilled.

For the trees on the cake, I just tinted the leftover frosting of various Autumn tones (brown, red, orange, green, and yellow). I used piping bags with the ends barely snipped of for drawing, but you could easily use zip top bags int he same way. To get a smooth finish on your buttercream, an offset spatula is your best friend. Use the brown frosting to draw the tree trunks and branches, swirling them up onto the top of the cake.

Next, for the leaves, simply squeeze small dots onto the ends of each of the branches, being sure to switch out the colors and mix them up a bit. For the border around the base, I just randomly squeezed small dots of all of the colors all the way around. Finally, I finished the cake off by adding the silhouette of a tiny owl to the branches. I put four owls, evenly spaced, around the cake.

This is such a great occasion cake, and easy to make in no time at all! The height and beautiful Fall colors make it a great piece to serve at Thanksgiving dinner or a special evening with loved ones. And best of all, the wonderful taste will have people asking for more! It’s a good thing the decorations could easily be changed to suit other seasons! Enjoy!

Maple Nut Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting
Makes 3 8-inch layers

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple sugar (can sub brown sugar)
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

FOR THE FROSTING
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar (make sure it’s gluten-free, if necessary)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, or grease and flour them.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the syrup and milk together; set aside.

In another large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed, and beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the flour over the batter and mix until just combined. Add half of the syrup mixture and beat until combined, then scrape the bowl. Add another third of the flour, mixing until just incorporated, then add the remaining syrup mixture and beat until just combined. Finally, add the remaining flour and beat the mixture until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl, then divide the mixture evenly into the prepared pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a crumb or two clinging to it. Leave the cakes in the pans for about 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

To make the frosting: Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and syrup. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for 4 minutes.

GLUTEN-FREE
Follow all of the instructions above, using all of the same ingredients except:

*Replace the cake flour with a mixture of 2 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, and 1/3 cup tapioca flour.
*Omit the baking soda and use 1 teaspoon xanthan gum instead.

Recipe by Darla

 

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Comments

  1. Coupon Discounts says

    This cake looks very delicious. I wish I could make the decorations you did. Mine would never turn out like that! Thanks for sharing this, going to have to at least try the recipe, minus the beauty. :)

  2. Sugarbear says

    Thank so much everyone!

    @Anon. – Thank you so much forthe head's up! It should be 1/2 cup! I'll updat eit right away! :)

    @Coupon Discounts – These are some super simple decorations! They're fun and free form so there's no way to mess them up! :) Plus, you don't ven need any special tools for them!

  3. Koci says

    The fact that this is a maple cake is amazing enough. Add to it your gorgeous frosting work, and this is completely irresistible! Gorgeous!

  4. Kim says

    Beautiful! I am going to try and make this for my mother in law's birthday this week. Probably won't look quite that nice, but worth a try. Will you share the name of the B and B with their own maple syrup operation? Thanks!

  5. Hannah says

    Truly stunning! This makes me wish I had even one iota of skill when it came to decorating cakes. I guess I'll just keep dreaming and enjoying your handiwork.

  6. Jenn says

    I love your cake stand and your cute little containers you have all the ingredients in! Oh yeah, and your cake is so cute with the fall colors and the little owl.

  7. Jojo says

    I just tried making this (converting cups to grams) and I think I might have gone wrong somewhere. It's been in the oven 40 mins and is still liquid underneath…
    Oops! Smells good though.

  8. Melissa E says

    Squee.

    I know I’m late to the party but yay for photos. I want to pick this cake up and press it gently against my walls so I can transfer the trees to them. Gorgeous, in its simplicity and colour choices.

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