Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maple-Walnut Cake

I'm mostly finished my finals - just one left on Tuesday! Finally started really Christmas shopping and we just bought our first Christmas tree! Exciting. We haven't put any ornaments on it yet because we're waiting to see if Abby will leap into it (she's been pretty good so far). And it snowed today!! I'm hoping for more snow overnight and tomorrow but who knows. We don't get a lot of snow here in Vancouver.

I made this maple walnut cake back in October for my boyfriend's dad's birthday - maple walnut cake with a maple cream cheese frosting. It was really easy to make, and was yummy but unfortunately didn't taste distinctly maple despite the 1 1/2 cups maple syrup in the cake and 2/3 cup maple syrup in the frosting! I think it's hard to get the maple flavour without maple extract or something though - what do you guys think? This cake actually reminded me of carrot cake (and there's nothing wrong with that!) The cake itself was really soft and crumbly (good, but I prefer dense), and the maple cream frosting was super delicious. But how can cream cheese frosting not be delicious?

The method for making this cake is the strangest I've ever encountered. You mix the dry ingredients and then add the butter and maple syrup and beat until blended. I've never beat the flour and butter together before! I'll show you a picture of the inside of the cake, only because if I were you I'd want to see it regardless of what it looked like (the icing is smooshed everywhere, and for some reason there's a backwards slice of cake sitting in front of the rest of the cake).

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Lemon Lust Cake
Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake
Applesauce Spice Bars
Carrot Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese-White Chocolate Icing

Maple-Walnut Cake
Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

The frosting is supposed to have 6 cups of sugar - I cut it back to 4 and it was still plenty sweet. I would start making the frosting when you put the cakes in the oven because the frosting involves boiling butter and maple syrup together and letting it cool to room temperature. And as you can see, I made a 2 layer cake so I had 1 layer and icing leftover. My cake carrier doesn't fit 3 layer cakes very well! (Though now I have a new one so this will no longer be an issue yaey.)

Makes an 8 inch triple layer cake; serves 12 to 16

1 1/3 cups walnut halves
3 cups cake flour (Ashley note: I used 350 g.)
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup, preferably light amber
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk (Ashley note: I used 1% milk.)
Maple Cream Frosting (see recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with a round parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Spread out the walnuts on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and lightly toasted, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a dish and let cool. Leave the oven on. When the nuts are cool, set aside 1/3 cup for garnish. Finely chop the remaining toasted walnuts.

3. Combine the chopped walnuts, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low, blend well. Add the butter and maple syrup and beat until blended. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, and milk. Add this liquid to the batter in 2 or 3 additions, beating until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl well after each addition. Divide the batter among the 3 prepare pans.

5. Bake for 32 to 35 minutes (I baked mine for 25-28 minutes), or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks, gently peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

6. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it evenly right to the edge. Repeat with the second layer and another 2/3 cup frosting. Set the third layer on top and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting, swirling the frosting decoratively with an offset palette knife or the back of a spoon. Garnish with the reserved toasted walnut halves.

Maple Cream Frosting
Makes about 3 1/2 to 4 cups

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup maple syrup
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Place the butter in a wide medium saucepan and melt over low heat. Add the maple syrup, raise the heat to medium-low, and boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so the syrup does not burn.

2. Pour the hot maple butter into a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature.

3. Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat well with an electric mixer to lighten. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Scrape down the bowl well and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the maple butter and mix until completely blended.


Melody said...

I want some :(

VeggieGirl said...

Oh my, I want that cake!

Good luck with the rest of finals!

katie said...


What a cake!?!?!?

New music, food, fitness + giveaways -

Come visit! Happy MONDAY FUNDAY!


Hannah said...

Yay for nearing the end of finals! I'm right there with you- My last assignment is actually due tonight. Oh, the pressure! I'd love to have a big slice of cake waiting for me when I'm all done to celebrate.. This looks incredible!

kimberleyblue said...

Maple cream cheese frosting? o.m.g. that sounds amazing. I really like the sound of this cake, and it's texture looks perfect.

I have three cats, and not one of them has jumped into our tree yet...though they do like knocking decorations off with their paws.

Grace said...

i'm all about the flavor of maple, so this cake would disappear pretty quickly around me. it's beautifully-done, ashley!
and hey--good luck on that last final. :)

Tia said...

this is a recipe i've been meaning to try - yours looks impressive!

Rose&Thorn said...

Okay, so you have snow and we have had temperatures of +30C for the last week! I have never had real maple syrup before - I hoped my friend would send me a bottle. But he is a single man, so I guess he doesn't see the urgency!

CookiePie said...

Yum YUM YUUUUMMMMM! Gorgeous cake! I agree about maple flavor - it is tough to get it to stand out. But that cake is amazing - I would like a big ol' slab of it right now! :)

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

DAMN that is some cake!! Looks amazing!!

tracieMoo said...

Maple and walnuts have to be one of the best thing, in a cake! it looks delicious.

Vegetation said...

Oh Ashley! That looks sensational!! Please come to my house and make it for me!

Helene said...

This is irresistible. Are you all covered in snow? It started this afternoon for us.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I've had an eye on that recipe ever since I bought the book, over a year ago - your cake looks wonderful! Sorry to hear the maple flavor wasn't that strong.

Fitness Foodie said...

I want a piece with extra frosting!

jennyjen said...

Oh my maple cream bliss!

Chef Fresco said...

This looks so yummy, esp w. all that frosting! Good luck on your exams!

Misty said...

You did a nice job on the frosting - its very pretty. Good luck on the finals!

Sarena Shasteen said...

Wow, my husband and father-in-law would love this! I should try it with black walnuts...they love those.

small cabins said...

I want that cake now! I am going to call my friend and I am going to tell her to bake it for me because I really don't know how to bake.

Pam Walter said...

This really does sound delicious. Love cream cheese frosting on almost anything!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

That looks like just the type of thing that should be on its way to my mouth right now 8p. Your comments about the maple flavor make me wonder if I'm particularly sensitive to it. I made a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe that didn't even use that much maple syrup and I found the flavor a bit overwhelming...I hope that was just a fluke b/c this looks great!

Ricki said...

That looks heavenly! And yep, nothing like cream cheese frosting! I find that maple only shines through in recipes where there are very few other ingredients--I made some maple flax cookies a while back, and they really tasted "mapley". But I've never tried a cake!

Cindy Howard said...

I made this cake for Father's Day weekend. My boyfriend produces his own maple syrup here in Qu├ębec so I had plenty on hand to make this cake. This cake was simple to make and it was a great hit, everyone loved it :D Will for sure be adding this to my recipe collection and will be making this many, many more times. Yes, it is at delicious as it looks!

Nalini said...

Hi, I made 3 mini cakes by reducing the amount used & it came out really good... waiting to have it in dinner.
Thanks for creating such a wonderful blog :)

eatme_delicious said...

Cindy: Oh I'm so jealous of the delicious maple syrup you must have!! Glad you liked the cake. :)

Nalini: 3 mini cakes sounds cute. :)