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.

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Designer Buttercream

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

Ingredients:

• 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

Method:

• 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.