One of my biggest challenges has been finding cake recipes, specifically for birthdays, that do not use processed sugar. Logan's first birthday cake was made out of almonds and dates. The trial run tasted awesome. The one I made for the party, not so much. It was dense and bland. The following year was a honey cake that was also not a winner. Lucas' first cake was very dense as well, literally you could have used it as a door stop.
For my mother's birthday I decided to try and find a maple recipe instead of a honey recipe. One of the first recipes I came across was from Bon Appetit. I have always loved Bon Appetit, however I rarely cook from it. The long, involved recipes typically overwhelm me and the specialty ingredients take me on a journey and are costly. The things I have made though have been absolutely amazing. One Thanksgiving, many years ago (perhaps eight), there was a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingerbread crust. I had to buy a spring form pan and bake the cheesecake in water. The praline topping was a pain but let me tell you, it was some of the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. Have I ever been able to find the recipe again, after all these years? No. (So if you know the recipe, please send it to me. I will be eternally grateful.) The cheesecake also holds a really nice memory of a long ago friend and baking in her kitchen and having some fantastic girl time. So I would really love anyone who has the recipe to send it along.
Anyway, I decided to go ahead and make the scrumptious sounding maple cake. The recipe I used is below. I actually cut the recipe in half because I only have one round cake pan and since it contains baking powder, letting the batter sit is a no-no. (At least my limited baking skills believe it is.) I used a small egg for the 1 egg and a small egg yolk for my 1/2 yolk. Perhaps the batter was more eggy than if I had followed the recipe exactly but I like eggs so it wasn't a problem for me.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, room temperature
2 cups pure maple syrup (I used cooking/black strap maple syrup but you can use dark for a lovely maple flavor)
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups whole milk
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F.
Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides.
Sift 3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.
Add maple syrup and beat until smooth.
Add egg yolks and egg 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions.
Divide batter equally between prepared pans (about 3 1/2 cups for each); smooth tops.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.
Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes.
Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen.
Invert cakes onto racks.
Cool cakes completely.
I used the frosting recipe below, along with a few organic maple glazed nuts from Tierra Farms that I had bought over the weekend at one of the Fall Festivals.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Whole Foods)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2-6 Tablespoons maple syrup to taste
Cream together cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add maple syrup and beat until well combined.
The verdict? Everyone raved about this. I felt that the frosting was too buttery. Since we get our butter fresh from the farm, it may have a stronger butter flavor than store bought. I was outnumbered though as everyone else said how much they loved the buttery flavor of it.
Logan requested this cake for his birthday. I can see this being a regular special occasion cake. We liked it so much that I might even buy another round pan so that we can have the double layer. The frosting recipe easily makes enough to have a layer in the middle without having to make another batch.
Do you have a favorite birthday recipe?
This article was shared on The HomeAcre Hop, Mostly Homemade Mom, My Turn for Us, The Farm Hop