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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Maple Crunch Cake

A maple frosting adds real pizazz to this cake along with the unexpected
crunch of pecans!
I love maple. With temperatures reaching well into triple digits here in the desert I am longing for cool Autumn days. Instead I'll have to settle for cranking up the A/C and doing a little Autumn themed baking. This cake certainly fits the bill with it's big hits of maple flavor. It's one of those cakes that sort of makes you shudder from all the mapley goodness and sweetness. I think of those little maple sugar candies you can find around Thanksgiving when I bite into this cake. The addition of the pecans provides some crunch to the cake as well.

I've tried cakes like this before using real maple syrup and found they just don't quite cut it. Somehow the maple flavor always gets muted and the syrup provides a number of challenges with the ingredient portions. I stumbled upon switching up good old "maple extract" (flavoring) instead of the syrup when I was perusing a clone recipe for Starbuck's Maple Oat Nut Scones. Let's just say that recipe didn't leave me wanting more, but the maple flavoring stuck in the back of my mind. So, with a little sleight of hand I adapted an old southern pound cake recipe (loosely based on a Paula Deen cake) for use as a maple cake. Then I added some pecans for a little crunch and texture treat and topped it all off with a wonderful maple frosting reminiscent of my favorite maple iced doughnuts.

Give it a try and get a jump on your Fall cooking.


Maple Crunch Cake

Recipe by Buck Bannister
A delicious maple flavored pound cake with the crunchy addition of pecans topped with a luscious maple frosting.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yield: 16 pieces

Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for pecans)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. maple flavoring
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces (sold as "cookie pieces")
Cooking Directions:
  1. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add to wet ingredients alternating with the heavy cream - beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Add maple flavoring and beat just until combined.
  6. In a small bowl dust the pecan chips with about 1-2 tbs. of flour (so they don't sink to the bottom of the cake when baking.) Add chips to the batter and mix briefly to distribute through the batter.
  7. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and set on middle rack of cold oven. Turn oven to 325° and bake for 1 hour 25 minutes without opening the oven. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary bake up to an additional 15 minutes until done.
  8. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes then invert onto a cake plate. Frost with Maple Icing.

Maple Icing

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. maple flavoring
Directions:
  1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment combine all ingredients and beat on high speed until smooth. Add more sugar or milk if necessary to create an icing that can be poured slowly over the cake and allowed to drizzle down the sides.

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