Maple and pecan cake
This is a cake that’s going places.
There’s a natural harmony between maple syrup and pecans, with both contribute some woody depth to this cake as well as giving it a soft, tender crumb.
This is what I think of as my “travelling” cake. It’s fairly small, perfect for a small group as it gives you 6 generously sized servings. I bake it, as you can see, in a foil tray, about the size of a common takeaway container, measuring 27 x 18cm and 5cm deep (10 x 7in, 2in deep). You don’t need to grease or line a foil tray, and it means you can happily take it places – visiting, road trips, picnics – without having to worry about keeping track of and remembering to bring home your empty cake tin.
You could also bake it in a standard loaf tin, if you prefer, in which case you do need to butter and line it with baking paper, and cook it for a few minutes longer. If you choose this more compact form you can halve the quantities for the icing.
Maple and pecan cake
50g (2 oz) pecans
125g (1 cup) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
100g (3½ oz) unsalted butter
50g (¼ cup) sugar
80ml (⅓ cup) maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
80ml (⅓ cup) sour cream
for the icing:
20g (1½ tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
150g (1¼ cups) icing sugar
Set your oven to 180°C (350°F). Have a small foil tin (see note above) standing by, or butter a loaf tin and line with baking paper.
Put the pecans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken down (don’t overgrind or they will become oily). Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, pulsing until all is well mixed. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle beater, cream the butter, sugar and maple syrup together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg and vanilla.
With the mixer on a low speed, spoon in half the nut-flour mixture, then add the sour cream. Spoon in the remaining nut-flour mixture, beating until just combined.
Transfer the batter to the cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 35 minutes (or 40 minutes for a loaf tin). A wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Leave the cake, in its tin, on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
To make the icing, melt the butter in the microwave. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Spread over the cooled cake, decorating with a few whole pecans, if desired.