This is, by far, one of the yummier cakes I’ve made in a while. Also, one of the most expensive. Two plus cups of grade B maple syrup does not come cheaply my friends. But if you like maple syrup, if you like warm pancakes and if you like cream cheese frosting, suck up the cost and make this cake immediately. If you don’t like those things, we can’t be friends. I’m sorry, I liked you too.
There are chocolate people in the world and there are the “others.” The chocolate people know that nothing beats chocolate, ever. The rest of the world knows that nothing beats nuts and caramel and fruit and cream cheese frosting, ever. I used to be a chocolate person, but honestly, I’m fast becoming one of the “others.” As I get older, the nutty, caramely, cheesy desserts entice me so much more than the oozy chocolate ones. I prefer shortbread over most cookies and carrot cake is my favorite cake, bar none. I’m getting boring in my old age…and that’s ok with me. This cake is an awesome option for those “others” out there; and I promise you, none of the chocolate people will complain too loudly.
The only sweetener in this cake is the maple syrup. Since it’s also the main flavoring, you have to have to have to shell out for the good stuff. It will make such a difference, I promise. Grade B maple syrup is darker than grade A. I know were used to grades correlating with quality (damn you elementary school), but that’s not the case here. The grade B is the knock-your-socks-off good stuff. If you use grade A instead, chances are your cake will be sweet and tender, but not have the distinctive mapleness that you crave.
The cake itself is moist and rather dense due to extra egg yolks. The toasted walnuts add an amazing texture and the tang from the cream cheese offsets the sweet cake perfectly. Before you layer the cake, you should shave off the rounded tops, which taste just like warm, moist, maple-filled pancakes. If you’re me, you’ll be forced to pull a sex and the city and toss them in the garbage to keep yourself from eating them all. If you’re smart though, you won’t.
Maple Walnut Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
From Bon Appétit.
3 c all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 T vegetable shortening, room temperature
2 c Grade B maple syrup
3 lg egg yolks
1 lg egg
1 1/4 c whole milk
1 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
3 c powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 T Grade B maple syrup
Toasted walnut halves
- Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 2, 8″ round cake pans, line with parchment, and grease again
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt
- Using a mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy
- Add the maple syrup and beat until smooth; add egg yolks and whole egg, one at a time, beating until smooth after each
- Alternate adding the flour mixture (3 additions) with the milk (2 additions)
- With a spoon, stir in the walnuts
- Divide the batter between the two pans and bake ~50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean
- Cool in pans for 20 minutes, the remove to cooling racks and cool completely
- Meanwhile, beat the powdered sugar, cream cheese and butter until smooth
- Add the powdered sugar and maple syrup and whip until combined; If the frosting is too soft, chill for a few minutes
- Once the cakes are cool, shave off the domed tops to make flat surfaces
- Dollop 1 c of the frosting on top of the bottom layer and smooth
- Add the second layer of cake. At this point you can either frost the cake traditionally, covering the tops and sides of the cake, or do what I did and dollop the remaining frosting on the top of the cake, which I find rustic and cute and totally endearing
- Top with toasted walnuts