Maple Cake with Maple Syrup Frosting

Sometimes, bad days happen. Sometimes, while walking back to my car after the farmer’s market I find it’s been smashed in by a cab taking a left. That’s always fun.

Sometimes, bad baking days happen too. Sometimes pie crust burns, pears go undercooked, bread is too salty, and the standing mixer wobbles itself right off the counter. At first I thought it was broken, but it turns out the mixer is fine, it’s the floor that has a dent.

But sometimes, sometimes a recipe has the power to erase all previous baking failures and bad days. Sometimes, I decide to finally make that recipe I’ve had tagged in a magazine for months. And that recipe turns out to be the most delicious, unexpectedly fabulous maple cake with cream cheese maple syrup frosting.

This cake was so good, it didn’t matter that my decorating skills are still at the beginner level and the whole thing looked a little on the sloppy side. It didn’t last long enough for anyone to really consider the design aesthetics. So no judging.

(Yes, I did make two cakes. The first one was so delicious my dad asked me to make a second one for him to bring to work).

And since the culinary fates were in my favor that day, I also made bread. I may have even done a little dance after tasting it. It’s the first bread that I’ve been proud of since this summer at the bakery.

So moral of the story is, don’t go wallow and doubt your future career aspirations after a bad day. I did, and it was unnecessary. Turns out, all I really needed to feel better was some maple cream cheese frosting.

If you need some too, here’s the recipe. (I halved it to make the 6” square cake.)

Maple Cake with Maple Syrup Frosting
Adapted from Bon Appetit April 2010

3 cups (426g) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, room temperature
2 cups pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)*
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups (300 g) whole milk (I used two percent)
1 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped

3 cups (330 g) powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
Toasted walnut halves (for garnish)

Special equipment: Two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; butter parchment. Dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Sift 3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and shortening in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks and egg 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions. Fold in walnuts. Divide batter equally between prepared pans (about 3 1/2 cups for each); smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment. Cool cakes completely.

For frosting:
Sift powdered sugar into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar and maple syrup and beat just until smooth (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft).

Using serrated knife, trim off domed top of each cake layer, creating flat surface. Place 1 cake layer, trimmed side up, on platter. Spoon 1 cup frosting in dollops over top of cake layer; spread evenly to edges. Top with second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Arrange walnut halves around top edge of cake. DO AHEAD: Can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving. Cut cake into wedges and serve.

*Note: As I write this, I have now made this cake twice (in a 24 hour period), once with Grade A syrup and once with Grade B. Both are phenomenal. However, Grade B has a deeper, more complex flavor that makes this already amazing cake that much more interesting. But either way, you’ll be happy.


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Filed under Bread, Cake, Recipe

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