Difficulty: medium Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
This cake was a total shock for me- I tried it on whim as I had all the ingredients in my cupboard and I was so surprised at the gorgeous taste & texture of this great American classic! The sponge cake itself is fluffy and moist, and has subtle notes of Pecan. The frosting is sweet and smooth from the maple syrup.. the two combinations work so well!
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- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- Silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- Cake pans (I used 3 x 6″ pans but 2 x 8″ pans would also work)
- Grease proof paper
- Cooling rack
- Piping nozzles & bags (optional)
Ingredients for cake:
- 230g butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 30g dark brown sugar (packed)
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 230g sifted self raising flour
- 100g finely diced or ground pecans
- Whole and ground pecans to decorate (optional)
Ingredients for buttercream:
- 300g good quality, room temperature butter (preferably Lurpak)
- 600g sifted icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- Good pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 160ºc and line your pans. I do this by greasing butter all around the pans (bottom and sides) with a silicone pastry brush. Then I take a precut circle of greaseproof paper (I buy mine from Lakeland) and then rub flour over the sides of the pan. This is the most effective way to grease pans and will ensure you never have a cake stick to the pan ever again!
Cream the butter in your mixer until it becomes completely smooth and pale. This should take around 4-5 minutes. Add the caster and the brown sugar to the butter and beat until creamed together, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure the entire mix is fully combined. This should take 3 minutes.
Add in one egg at a time, ensuring the mix is entirely combined before adding the next egg. Once you have added all the eggs, slowly add the maple syrup and combine. You should have a runny batter.
You can now remove your bowl from the stand mixer or put down your electric whisk- as you will no longer be needing it! Taking either a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon and adding a quarter of your total flour at a time, slowly fold it in. Folding flour in by hand stops you losing any air out of your cake batter, and also prevents over-mixing which can cause your cake to become dense and dry. Repeat until all the flour is combined. Finally, fold in all the ground pecans. The pecans should be fine enough so they do not sink to the bottom of the batter and they stay evenly distributed throughout the cake.
Evenly distribute your cake batter among your 2 or 3 tins. The most accurate way to do this is to weigh each tin, but if you don’t have time then just do it by eye! Pop the tins into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. You will know when the cake is done by it’s golden brown colour, and if you put a knife into the centre of the cake, it should come out clean. If it comes out still with raw batter on, put the tins back in the oven for a few more minutes until fully baked. Try not to open the oven during the baking process, although this can be tempting… this will cause your cake to fall in the centre! Once your cakes are baked, pop them on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. I remove the cakes from the pan while they are still slightly warm so they are easier to remove. Once they have been removed from the pans, leave them on the rack until they are completely cool.
While the cake is cooling, I make my buttercream. This is a classic American Buttercream recipe with a 2:1 ratio of icing sugar to butter. To get the perfect buttercream, make sure you are using a good quality butter NOT a vegetable fat or margarine. Failing to do so will result in buttercream that won’t hold its shape and will taste fatty not creamy & sugary.
To start the buttercream, beat the butter on a high heat until it has gone very pale and creamy. This normally takes around 10 minutes. The colder your butter, the longer it will take so try to leave your butter out of the fridge for at least half an hour previously.
Slowly add the sifted icing sugar. If your icing sugar isn’t sifted, you will get lumps and grainy buttercream. If you add all your icing sugar at once and start to mix with an electric whisk or stand mixer it will go everywhere! If you’re strapped for time you can add it all at once and put a clean teatowel over the bowl while mixing.
Once the sugar and butter has fully combined, add the maple syrup. This is a super sweet buttercream so I also add a good pinch of salt at this stage to counteract some of the sweetness. Once the buttercream is fully combined you should end up with a golden coloured buttercream that is smooth and creamy!
Once the cakes are completely cool, stack the layers on a cake board and place on a turn table. In between every layer add an even amount of buttercream. To ensure this, I use an old fashioned ice cream scoop to measure out how much buttercream I put in between each layer.
Once the layers are all stacked, start adding a crumb coat of buttercream (if you are a total newbie to constructing buttercream cakes, here is a good video on the basics). Once the crumb coat is even and fully applied, leave in the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.
Apply a thick, final coat of buttercream around the sides and top of the cake. Once you are happy with your final layer of buttercream, ensuring it is straight and free from air bubbles, imperfections or any wonky angles! The final step is to pipe a beautiful buttercream border on the top of your cake. Here is a great video to show you several different designs! Finally, pop some whole pecans on the top of your cake. Once my cake was completely chilled (for at least an hour in the fridge) I rubbed some ground pecans along the bottom of the cake too. This can be quite tricky, so make sure you press lightly and have totally clean hands when doing so!
Thank you for reading this recipe, I hope you like it! If you have any questions, you are more than welcome to drop me a message on Instagram @thecakeclubuk and I will help you as best as I can!
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