Tag Archives: Loaf Cake

Maple Drizzle Cakes

Maple Drizzle CakesI feel like this fall is all about maple syrup. But based on last Friday’s round-up, I feel like every fall for the last four years has been about maple syrup.

What can I say? I am a maple syrup fangirl. I love its sweetness and nuance and amber color and near-undeniable deliciousness and I don’t think I’ll ever stop finding ways to spotlight it in my baking.Maple Drizzle CakesI mean, have you tried my Maple Thumbprints yet? Or my crowd-favorite Salty Maple Caramel Corn? Or the Maple Creme Sandwich Cookies I posted when I was a little baby blogger and just re-photographed last week? Because you should. But maybe start your autumnal maple-mania off with these Maple Drizzle Cakes. I’d love to give you a sentence qualifying why these cakes are somehow superior to all my other maple baked goods, but

  1. That’s silly. I love all maple baked goods with the same reckless abandon that I reserve for a holiday cookie platter or a puff pancake on a Saturday morning.
  2. Maple. Drizzle. Cakes. Need I say more???

Maple Drizzle CakesAs you may have guessed, these are an autumnal take on classic Lemon Drizzle Cakes. Like those cakes, these are rich and buttery, but instead of being flavored with three hits of citrus, these have three doses of pure maple syrup! You’ll find it in the cake batter, soaked into the baked cakes, and mixed into a thick icing that’s poured over the tops.Maple Drizzle Cakes

Oh, and these are easy to make. So, so easy. Just dump all the cake batter ingredients in one bowl and mix them for 3.5 minutes before dividing it among a couple of loaf pans and baking. Boom. Done.Maple Drizzle CakesAfter baking, tiny holes are poked in the warm cakes and maple syrup is brushed over the tops and allowed to soak in. Alternatively, you can cool the cakes and then brush on warmed maple syrup. No matter which method you choose, this will add extra moisture and flavor, and make your cakes extra delicious.Maple Drizzle CakesMaple Drizzle CakesThe icing is made primarily of maple syrup, confectioner’s sugar, melted butter and water. It goes on as a liquid, cascading down the sides of the cake before drying to a set finish. I like the icing recipe as written, but you could add another layer of flavor by browning the butter. You know, if you’re into things like that.Maple Drizzle CakesMaple Drizzle Cakes are great for any occasion. You could use them as hostess gifts, pack them carefully and mail them overnight to someone you love, leave one in the office break room, or even serve one as a non-pie Thanksgiving dessert (we all know a pie hater).

Or you can eat a thick slice with your fingers while you’re wearing your best/softest/oldest/most hideous pajamas and binging The Righteous Gemstones, and marvel at how great it is to live a life where you have both excellent cake and quality television. Or something.Maple Drizzle Cakes

Maple Drizzle Cakes
makes 2 9×5-inch loaf cakes

Cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature

Syrup:
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Icing Drizzle:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoon water
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the two long sides, and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Transfer batter to prepared pans and smooth the tops with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pans on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

Stab warm cakes (still in their pans) several times with a thin, flexible knife or skewer, making sure to poke all the way to the bottom. Brush syrup evenly over the cakes, about 1/4 cup each. Let cakes soak in the syrup until they are completely cool.*

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set a cooling rack over the top. Use parchment overhang to remove soaked cakes from pans. Discard used parchment and place cakes on prepared cooling rack.

Make the icing. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, maple syrup, butter, water, and salt. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more water by the teaspoon. Pour over the centers of the cakes—the icing should “spread” itself, but you can coax it a bit with the back of a spoon. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cakes to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to five. Maple flavor will intensify over time.

Note:

You may also let the cakes cool before brushing on the maple syrup. Simply let them cool in their pans before lifting them out onto a rack that has been set over a piece of parchment (exactly as it’s written in the icing step). Poke them with a skewer. Warm the maple syrup slightly (10-15 seconds in the microwave will do the trick) before brushing it onto the cakes. Let soak 30 minutes before applying the icing.Maple Drizzle CakesMaple Drizzle CakesMaple Drizzle Cakes

Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake

 Everyone has their go-to dessert–that thing they make when a friend has a baby or they’re asked to bring dessert for a dinner party. For my mom, it’s angel food cake with fresh blueberries and whipped cream. For my grandmother, Mame, it was a cherry-pineapple dump cake, which she called “Simply Delicious,” because who wants to eat something called dump cake?! 

My go-to? This Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake. Now, the words “vanilla bean” and “ricotta” make it sound fancy, but it’s not–it’s basically pound cake. There’s no frosting or layering because this cake simply doesn’t need that kind of adornment. It’s easy to put together and bakes up super dense and moist, with tons of vanilla bean flavor.

For those of you who aren’t much for ricotta in other applications, you should know that I’m not either. Ricotta cheese doesn’t belong in my lasagna, on my toast, or anywhere else…except this cake. The milky flavor and grainy texture that turn me off in savory foods are what make this cake so insanely moist and delicious. The cheese melds so well into the simple batter, it’ll turn even the staunchest of ricotta-haters. If you really don’t want to use the stuff, you may substitute an equal volume of full-fat sour cream.
 This recipe makes a small loaf cake. It will not rise above the top of the pan. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in versatility. Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake is buttery and moist with a distinct vanilla flavor. It’s the kind of cake that’s fantastic by itself with a cup of coffee or tea, but it is a wonderful base for pretty much any toppings you can think of! Mix up a quick vanilla glaze (like the one used here) and drizzle it over the top of the cooled cake before slicing. Top slices with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for a sort of makeshift strawberry shortcake. Use it in trifles or ice cream cakes. Seriously, this cake is good with just about anything. 

This weekend, I’m going to serve Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake with Blueberry Compote. I just love the look of the berries on the sliced cake, and the blueberry-lemon flavor goes so well with the vanilla bean! Make it this Memorial Day Weekend and enjoy it with your family and friends. Maybe it’ll become your go-to dessert, too 😊 

 Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake
makes one 9×5″ loaf, about 8-12 servings

For the pan:
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)

Cake:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste**
4 ounces (1/2 cup) full-fat ricotta cheese, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the pan. Mix together flour and neutral-flavored oil. Use a pastry brush to paint mixture over the entire inside of the pan. Pour out any excess. Set aside.

Make the batter. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste, followed by ricotta. Add dry ingredients in two installments, combining completely after each addition.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake 35-40 minutes, tenting with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Cake is done when it’s golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs.

Let cake cool in the pan for ten minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Invert it onto a cooling rack, and then revert. Let cool completely.

Cake will keep at room temperature for up to three days, and in the refrigerator for up to five.

Notes:


1. I use Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.
2. If you don’t have or don’t want to use vanilla bean paste, you may use an equal volume of pure vanilla extract, or the scraped seeds of one vanilla bean + 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.