Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Cake for Fall, to Begin

This is my first blog post on my first blog. Ever. So, I'm going to start things off right, with a cake that I made as an ode to fall.

I should start by telling you that I love everything about fall: The weather, the clothes, the food, the leaves, the colors, the holidays. I could go on and on. So, being in Utah for my second "fall" had been extremely difficult until about a week ago when the temperatures dropped from the 80's and the leaves FINALLY began to change color and fall from trees.

This has been a big change from me, living my whole life (until almost 2 years ago) in upstate New York, where September hits and it's time to pull out your sweaters and hit the pumpkin patch with a cup of hot cider in hand. Now that Utah has finally come around as October comes to an end, I thought it would be appropriate to make a cake for my favorite season.

The recipe for this maple pecan cake is adapted from a cupcake recipe from my new favorite cookbook, "Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented." Try it out and I promise you won't be disappointed.

Maple Pecan Cake and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup salted butter, softened and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 335 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8" cake pans.*

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening until smooth and combined. Turn the mixture to low and stream in the maple syrup. Increase speed to medium and mix until mixture is uniform in color. 

Add egg yolks and egg, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down sides of the bowl and paddle. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Stream in the milk. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape bowl and fold in chopped pecans.

Divide batter evenly into pans and bake about 35 minutes, until cake springs back when poked.

*note, if you want to make 2 different-sized tiers, like I did, fill a 6" and 8"cake pan each 2/3 full, decrease temperature to 325 and increase baking time at least 5 minutes.

For the frosting:

Heat brown sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally just until it boils. Cool slightly.

Mix softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in a bowl fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and well-combined. Scrape down bowl. Decrease speed to low and stream in caramel-maple mixture until uniform in color. Add powdered sugar, once cup at a time and mix until well combined. If you prefer a stiffer frosting, increase the powdered sugar by another cup.

Allow cakes to cool at least an hour before frosting.

Gumpaste fall leaves over marshmallow fondant


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About Me

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Salt Lake City, Utah
As a pastry chef by trade and by hobby, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease has not been easy. But through some experimental baking and a whole lot of faith, I'm living a full(er) life.