Autumn Maple Cake

Autumn Maple cake

From Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. This recipe requires two cake pans, preferably lined with wax paper.

Ingredients – cake:

• 170g (6oz) butter, softened
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 ½ cups maple syrup
• 3 1/3 cups self-raising flour
• ¾ cup hot water

Ingredients – maple meringue icing:

• 2 large egg whites
• ½ cup maple syrup
• 7 tablespoons sugar
• ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
• ¼ teaspoon maple extract (optional)
• ½ cup (4 oz) pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Method – cake:

• Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
• Beat together the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy.
• Add the eggs one at a time, beating in well after each addition, and gradually add the maple syrup to make a smooth mixture.
• Finally, spoon the flour alternately with the hot water, beating gently after each addition until smooth again.
• Divide the batter between two greased pans, and bake for 40 minutes.
• When done, let the cakes cool in their pans for ten minutes before transferring to a cake rack. Leave them to cool completely before icing.

Method – maple meringue icing:

• Place everything except the extracts and nuts in a glass or metal boil that fits over a saucepan to form a double boiler. Fill the saucepan with enough water to come just below (but not touching) the bowl when it sits on top.
• Bring the water to the boil, set the bowl on top, and beat the mixture vigorously with an electric whisk for 5-7 minutes. The mixture should stand up in stiff peaks.
• Take the bowl off the saucepan, add the extracts, and beat for another minute.

• Ice the middle of one of the cakes, place the other on top, and ice the whole surface. Give the icing a swirly effect rather than smoothing it out (you can get good peaks using the back of a spoon).
• Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top of the cake, and throw at the sides.


Designer Buttercream

From 500 Cupcakes, this buttercream is ideal if you want to make fancy designer cupcakes.


• 225g butter (or margarine if DF)
• 115g vegetable shortening
• 4 egg whites
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
• 100g sugar
• 60ml (4 T) water
• 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
• Food colouring, if necessary


• Beat the butter and shortening together in a food processor until smooth; set aside in a cool area.
• Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice and cream of tartar until soft peaks form; set aside.
• Stir the sugar and water together in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Cook over medium-high heat until a sugar thermometer inserted in the syrup registers 120°C (250°F) (about 10 minutes).
• Pour the hot syrup in a thin stream into the beaten egg whites, beating constantly at low speed until you have a thick, glossy icing. Beat in the vanilla and food colouring (if using).
• Continue beating on medium speed until the bottom of the bowl is as warm as your hands, about 36°C (98°F). Set aside to cool for five minutes.
• Switch to paddle attachment or a wooden spoon. Add the butter mixture, two tablespoons at a time, beating/mixing well after each addition until smooth and creamy.
• Cool for about an hour before using.