Tag Archives: maple

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

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Friday Favorites: Maple Syrup

Hello from San Francisco! I’m visiting to celebrate my best friend, Tad’s 35th birthday (it’s today!) and do whatever people do in San Francisco. I’ve never been here before, so I’m excited to find out what that is. So far, it’s seeing Hamilton (again!) on tour and going to Sausalito.

What all this has to do with maple syrup and baking, I don’t know. What I do know is that I love to cook and bake with maple syrup, especially this time of year. It’s so delicate, but has incredible depth and versatility. I love it on pancakes and waffles, of course, but I’ve used it in everything from cookies to cake to nut butter to popcorn to pie! I’ve even got a new maple-centric recipe coming at you next week. But first, here are five of my favorite maple recipes from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Maple SyrupMaple Creme Sandwich Cookies

This is the first maple-based recipe ever to appear on this blog, and one of the first recipes to appear on this blog, period. I hated the photos, and so have sort of buried it in the archives…but no more! I re-baked the recipe this week, so now the photos reflect how delicious these chewy, creme-filled sandwich cookies actually are. Oh, they are goooood. I’ve had more than a few people claim these are the best cookies they’ve ever eaten. I don’t know about that, but I mean…they’re not not the best cookies I’ve ever eaten.

Friday Favorites: Maple SyrupMaple Layer Cake

I made this cake on a whim last fall and it’s still one of my favorite recipes on this site! It’s easy to see why. There’s plenty of pure maple syrup baked into and brushed onto the cake layers, and plenty more whipped into buttercream! This would make a great fall birthday cake or non-pie Thanksgiving dessert.

Friday Favorites: Maple SyrupMaple Pecan Pie

I made this pie nearly three years ago when this blog turned one! It’s got all the sweet, sticky, gooey nuttiness you want in a pecan pie, but it’s made with pure maple syrup instead of the usual dark corn syrup.

Friday Favorites: Maple SyrupMaple-Roasted Pecan Butter

If you’ve never made homemade pecan butter, go do it right now. Don’t forget to add a little maple syrup and spice and to spread it on every piece of bread and fruit in your house.

Friday Favorites: Maple SyrupSalty Maple Caramel Corn

Y’all, storebought caramel corn has nothing on this salty, maple-spiked homemade version. Not. A. Thing. Sweet & salty with a crisp, glass-like exterior—good luck not eating the entire batch yourself!Friday Favorites: Maple Syrup

Have you made these or any of my other maple treats? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Maple Thumbprints

Maple ThumbprintsIt may have been 90 degrees in NYC this past Monday, but nobody is happier than I am that fall is finally here, not least because it means I have an excuse to make these Maple Thumbprints.Maple ThumbprintsAnd make them, I have—five test batches before getting them just right. I used the dough from my Maple Spice Stars as a starting place, and then adjusted the spice, sugars, and leavener until I achieved exactly what I wanted: a puffy, slightly soft maple cookie with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and a well of maple icing in the center. The ideal accompaniment to a cup of tea on a fall afternoon, you know?Maple ThumbprintsIf you love maple syrup like I do, these cookies are for you. The dough contains 2/3 cup and the icing has another 1/4 cup! I vastly prefer Grade A Dark Amber & Robust Taste (formerly known as Grade B) for its deep flavor, but any pure maple syrup you have will do the trick.Maple ThumbprintsMaple ThumbprintsMaple ThumbprintsMaple, like pumpkin, is a flavor that improves over time. Though these cookies will taste good immediately after they’re baked and filled, they won’t taste particularly maple-y until a few hours later. By the next day, you’ll have no problem finding the sweet nuances of maple syrup in both the cookies and the icing.Maple ThumbprintsYou’ll notice that many of the maple cookie recipes out there (including this one) call for maple extract for a richer flavor. This is because maple is a delicate flavor in baking, easily masked by its own sweetness. To that point, I tested both the dough and icing with 1/2 teaspoon each of maple extract (I like Boyajian), and while it works and certainly amplifies the flavor, I don’t think this recipe needs it. I did multiple taste tests and preferred the cookies made with only maple syrup every time. If you feel otherwise, feel free to add some extract. To each their own!Maple ThumbprintsThe point, as always, is to bake the cookies you want to eat. And to bake for the weather you want, not the weather you have. At least, that’s what I’m doing. If it means I’m eating autumnal cookies while sitting in front of a blasting air conditioner and praying for some crunchy leaves to step on, so be it.Maple Thumbprints

Maple Thumbprints
makes about 4.5 dozen cookies

Cookies:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pure maple syrup (I like Grade A dark amber & robust taste)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Icing:
3 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3-4 teaspoons water

Make the cookies. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in brown and granulated sugars, followed by the maple syrup. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low, and add the dry ingredients in three installments, stopping frequently to scrape the bowl.

Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each into a ball. Place dough balls at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—just smooth them with your fingers.

Bake cookies 12-13 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer wet-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of a small spoon (I use a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon) into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Arrange cookies on a parchment or wax paper-lined surface for filling.

Make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt, maple syrup, and 3 teaspoons of water until smooth. Add more water by the 1/2 teaspoon, if needed, until the glaze is thick but pourable.

Transfer icing to a piping bag (or ziptop sandwich bag), twist it tight and snip off a very small corner. Fill wells in cookies as desired.

Icing will set after a few hours. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Place wax paper between layers for easiest storage.Maple ThumbprintsMaple Thumbprints

Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Salty Maple Caramel CornI’ve got maple syrup on my mind, y’all! Last week, it was in the form of a Maple Layer Cake. Today, it’s Salty Maple Caramel Corn!Salty Maple Caramel CornY’all—this stuff is phenomenal. Phe-nom-e-nal. Crispy, crunchy, sweet and salty. Oh, and easy. Salty Maple Caramel Corn comes together in four simple steps.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Pop some popcorn.

I pop my popcorn in a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove. Just heat a tablespoon of oil with a few kernels in it over medium heat. When they start popping, add the rest of the kernels, put a lid on it and jostle until all your corn is popped!Salty Maple Caramel Corn

I used Pop-Secret Jumbo Popping Corn in all my testing. I found that 3/4 cup unpopped kernels usually yielded 12 cups of popcorn, but I know that other brands act differently. I’ve seen some that purport to make 16 cups from 1/2 cup kernels! Basically, what I’m saying is to measure your popped popcorn to make sure you have the necessary 12 cups for this recipe 🙂 Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Make the salty maple caramel.

This is one of the easiest caramels you will ever make. There is no pot-watching or streaming heavy cream into molten sugar. You don’t need a candy thermometer either!

Just put sugar, maple syrup, salt, butter, and water in a pot and boil for five minutes. Don’t stir, swirl, or otherwise agitate the pot in any way—this will lead to crystallization and sad, dull caramel corn. No, thank you! Just add the ingredients to the pot (without stirring) and turn on the heat. I promise you, the caramel will form properly on its own.

Once the boiling time is up, turn off the heat. Stir in some vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will bubble up once the baking soda dissolves.Salty Maple Caramel Corn
Two quick recipe notes:

  • I chose to use granulated sugar in this recipe, rather than the usual light brown sugar. While brown sugar is very delicious in caramel corn, I found that the molasses in it competed too much with the maple syrup. If I’m going to use pricey maple syrup in a recipe, I want to be able to taste it!
  • This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt. It will give the finished caramel corn a salty finish, but shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you think it’s too much for you, feel free to reduce it to 1-1 1/2 teaspoons.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Toss the salty maple caramel with the popcorn.

This sounds mindlessly easy, but I’m going to talk about it anyway.

This recipe calls for tossing the popcorn and caramel together in a large oiled bowl with oiled silicone spatulas before spreading it onto oiled rimmed sheet pans. Don’t be tempted to skip the bowl and do the tossing on the pans. Many recipes recommend this, but I burned the everliving crap out of my hand using that method. If you think hot oil burns are the worst, it’s only because you haven’t experienced the unrelenting torture of a molted sugar burn.Salty Maple Caramel CornFor the same reasons, don’t touch any pieces of coated popcorn that fly out of the bowl during mixing. Wait until they cool for a few minutes before picking them up.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Bake at a low temperature and stir occasionally.

This is the easiest of all the steps. Bake the coated caramel corn at 250F for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent burning. It’s a lot like making granola.Salty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel CornThe caramel corn will seem very wet at first, but will harden to a crispy, glossy finish. Once the hour is up, scatter the caramel corn onto a big piece of parchment and let it cool to room temperature. After that, snack away!Salty Maple Caramel CornYou’re going to love this Salty Maple Caramel Corn! It’s a great sweet & salty snack or dessert. I think it would make for a wonderful finishing touch on a bowl of ice cream. You could even pile it high as a finishing touch on a Maple Layer Cake!Salty Maple Caramel CornI highly recommend making a batch over the next couple of days. It’s a guaranteed way to upgrade your weekend ❤ Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Salty Maple Caramel Corn
makes 12 cups

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
3 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

Pour oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are 12 cups. Set aside excess or pop more, as needed to meet the 12-cup requirement for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 250F. Heavily grease two rimmed sheet pans, your largest mixing bowl, and 2 silicone spatulas with oil or non-stick spray. Put popped popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.

Without stirring or jostling, combine sugar, maple syrup, salt, butter and water in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda; mixture will bubble up.

Pour maple caramel over popcorn and use greased spatulas to toss together. Do not touch any coated pieces that fly out of the bowl—the molten sugar will burn you. Wait til they cool a bit before picking them up.

Divide coated popcorn among sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Line a sheet pan or a surface with parchment. Pour baked popcorn on top. Let cool to room temperature. Serve

Leftover Salty Maple Caramel Corn will keep in a ziptop bag for up to 2 weeks. It may soften slightly on humid days.
Salty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel Corn

Maple Layer Cake

Maple Layer CakeNotice anything different? I updated the look of this site on Wednesday afternoon!Maple Layer CakeI haven’t made any major aesthetic changes to this site since I started blogging almost three years ago. I mean, I’d thought about it on and off, but had never actually gone through with anything until two days ago. I’d love to say this was planned, but it absolutely was not. I just decided on a whim that it was time to change the theme and streamline a few things, so here we are.Maple Layer CakeNow, I’m not someone who makes many impulse decisions—I’m a big over-thinker—so changing the look of my blog is a pretty big deal for me. I still need to make a few formatting adjustments, but other than those, this look is here to stay.Maple Layer CakeAnother impulse decision I made recently? Baking this Maple Layer Cake! One minute, I thought “I should make a maple cake this fall,” and the next, I was whisking up batter and whipping buttercream.Maple Layer CakeMaple Layer CakeMaple Layer Cake
Maple Layer CakeMaple Layer CakeThat’s really something, considering that I was deep in the babka zone at the time, working on a recipe that I overthought to the point of making 18 (!) babkas.Maple Layer CakeMaple Layer CakeMaple Layer CakeIn the midst of all that self-imposed craziness, this cake went from a one-off thought to a sparkling four-layer naked cake in the span of an afternoon. Isn’t it a stunner?!Maple Layer CakeThat’s not all! This cake tastes as good as it looks 🙂 Maple Layer CakeThere are 1 1/3 cups of pure maple syrup in the entire cake—in addition to the cake and fluffy buttercream, each buttery layer is torted (sliced in half equatorially) and brushed with the good stuff. There is absolutely no mistaking the flavor of this cake!Maple Layer CakeI’m sure I will continue to be an over-thinker for years to come, but if this Maple Layer Cake proves anything, it’s that it’s good trust my gut every now and then.Maple Layer Cake

Maple Layer Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk,* room temperature

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For Assembly:
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
sparkling sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and granulated sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the buttermilk. Add the remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining buttermilk.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Tap each pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes. Run a small, think knife around the edges, invert onto racks, and remove parchment. Allow cakes to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla. Beat in maple syrup, followed by heavy cream.

Assemble the cake. Use a serrated knife to slice cake layers equatorially so that you are left with 4 very thin layers. Place one layer, cut-side-up on a serving plate or cake stand. Brush layer with maple syrup. Top with a thin layer of frosting. Top with another thin layer of cake and repeat the brushing and frosting. Repeat layering process one more time. Top with the last remaining thin layer of cake, cut-side-down. Frost cake as desired. Top with sparkling sugar, if using.

Slice and serve. Leftover layer cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Note:

If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you may make a substitute. Place 2 tablespoons of vinegar (or lemon juice) in a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk up to the 2 cup mark and stir. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, or until curdled. Continue with the recipe as written.

Maple Layer CakeMaple Layer Cake