Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maple Cake with Brown- Sugar-Maple Frosting

Hello. Why hello.

It's been a scanty few weeks for me in the blogging world! Please excuse moi- holidays, turkey, decorating, family, friends... you know how it is.

I hope you had a truly warm and memorably wonderful Thanksgiving. This is a holiday really worth celebrating- it's a chance to spend every day of the month thinking and pondering on all the many blessings you have in your life- because all we have more than we can count- really, we do. And secondly, it's a day you can pull together with people you like/love, and stuff the heck out of yourself as much as you'd like, practically till you're unable to move, without feeling any real pangs of guilt (if you are counting calories on turkey day, knock it off:)) . And guess what? You'll never guess the startling discovery I made Thursday night around approx 5 pm.......


Love. Not even just "semi-fond of". Love it to the moon and back. Oh it was luxurious and sweet and nutty and flavorful and beaming with every taste that resonated within my palate. We should all feel that way about something on the Thanksgiving dessert menu- I know that many are piously religious about eating a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and I happen to NOT be one of them. I sample everything else. And this year, I took a stab right off the bat at the seemingly unpopular pecan pie sitting there in despair loneliness. From here on out, I could care less about any other dessert that garnishes the table. There, it's off my chest. Pecan pie and me are like long lost friends.

Recently too, I made a maple cake with maple frosting for a Sunday dessert. It was also a major smash within the walls of my junk-food-inclined palate. A very appropriate cake for the time of year. My only major regretful affliction with this baking attempt was overcooking it. Truly, blech. Who in the universe enjoys a bone-dry, arid, barren cake, I ask?

Luckily the frosting came to the rescue and together, it was great. If you can keep your eye on this cake while it bakes and remove it the minute the center of the cake springs back via touch of the index finger, then it will be golden.

You will need to invest in the real maple syrup, however, if you plan on baking this. As much as I love my generic-style maple syrup that only costs a couple green stubs, you know the kind that your kids drench waffles in, it won't do and you'll end up with a really odd cake. So, find the most inexpensive real, grade A Maple syrup out there and then make sure to really enjoy every bite of this kinda-more-lavish cake.

Peace, hope, and joy to you and yours this weekend.

Maple Cake with Brown Sugar/Maple Frosting

{Everyday Food, November 2011}

Nonstick cooking spray

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon fine salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup

3/4 cup whole milk

1 cup chopped walnut halves, toasted

For The Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tsp maple extract (this was a Kate addition- I needed a little more maple flavor)

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two 9-inch round cake pans (2 inches deep) with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper; lightly coat parchment with cooking spray. Flour parchment and sides (tapping out excess); set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on high until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on medium-high, add maple syrup in a slow, steady stream. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with milk, beating well after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed. Fold in walnuts (Kate note: we left these out and used a few only for garnishing the top of the frosted cake).

Divide batter between pans; firmly tap pans on a flat surface several times to remove air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks, 15 minutes, then invert onto racks; peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and let cool completely on racks. With a serrated knife, trim domed top from each cake to make a flat surface.

Make frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and brown sugar on high until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

Assemble cake: Place one layer, top side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread top evenly with 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with second layer, top side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and around sides of cake.

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