Friday, June 5, 2009

Maple Cake

Recently I rediscovered this burnt sugar/caramel cake recipe that I used to make twenty years ago. It's very festive and filled with tons of sugar. People love it. For some reason I was thinking how it might taste if I changed the burnt sugar with maple syrup. After doing some research I discovered everyone seems to think that maple needs to be paired with walnuts. I just wanted to make a simple larder cake, you know something you could whip up with ingredients that are usually in the fridge? Understanding that Maple Syrup is always in my fridge because of where I live, I guess if you live in LA that may not be the case.

After a few attempts I came up with this simple maple infused cake and many serving options.

Maple Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut out a piece of parchment that will fit in the bottom of a buttered 9" round cake tin, place parchment in, butter parchment and dust the inside of the pan with flour.

In a bowl mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

In another bow combine 6 tablespoons of grade B maple syrup with 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Using an electric mixture cream together 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup organic cane sugar until well incorporated.

Add 2 room temperature large eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrapping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed (it's always a good idea to crack the eggs into a bowl first so you don't end up getting egg shells in your batter).

Starting with the dry ingredients, alternately add to the butter mixture, on low speed, with the wet ingredients. Starting and ending with the dry, beating until the batter well combined and light and fluffy.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and invert onto desired serving plate.

How you choice to proceed from here depends on your preference.

You could make a glaze with 3 ounces of room temperature cream cheese, beaten with an electric mixture adding maple syrup until it reaches the desired thickness and drizzle it over the cake.

You could make unsweetened whipped cream and serve the cake with a bowl of whipped cream and a creamer filled with maple syrup. Try adding a few tablespoons of crème fraîche or sour cream to the whipped cream - I love the sweet sour contrast.

Or be more prosaic and just serve maple syrup sweetened whipped cream.

Or make a maple butter cream or cream cheese icing. If you do this I suggest cooling the cake in the fridge over night and then cutting it in half with a sharp serrated knife, then filling the middle of the cake with icing along with the top and sides.

This is a nice alternative to a birthday or other celebratory cake.

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Using an electric mixer beat 3 ounces room temperature cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter. Add 4 tablespoons maple syrup and mix until fully incorporated. On low speed add 3 cups organic icing sugar and an optional teaspoon or so of bourbon (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla) if it's too thick you can thin it with a little cream.

Totally decadent.

Report back and let me know what you come up with.

Oh and this cake a few days old would make a great base for a decadent trifle, maple infused pastry creme, toasted walnuts, dulce de luche, whipped cream, brandied raisins.

And it is also great served covered in stewed strawberrys and rhubarb.

Maple Cream Cheese Glaze

I just made this for a dinner party and it went over well so I wanted to share.

Clean, stem and half a quart of strawberries, place in a bowl with a few tablespoons of maple syrup and let macerate for an few hours, covered in the fridge.

It's best if you use a local home made or organic cream cheese as they have less stabalizers in them and will break down easier.

Place 5 ounces of room temperature cream cream (it's really important it's room temp otherwise it remains annoyingly lumpy) in a bowl and using a beater or KitchenAid with the whisk attachment beat the cream cheese gradually adding 5 tablespoons of maple syrup and a pinch of salt. The mixture shuold be smooth and very spreadable.

Top the cake with the glaze.

Spoon the maple syrup soaked strawberries ove reach slice.


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