Last weekend I had 3 events to celebrate…
- Girls on tour…a weekend away for my good friend Nic’s hen.
- My friend Bee growing old very gracefully.
- and last but not least ‘The Afternoon Tease’s’ 2nd blog birthday! (I wonder…are blog years like dog years?)
120g unsalted butter
400g caster sugar
360g plain flour
1.5 tbsp (this is NOT a typo 😉 I do mean tablespoons not teaspoons!) baking powder
0.25 tsp salt
40ml maple syrup
100g pecans, chopped
And for the icing…
240g unsalted butter
750g icing sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
pecan halves to decorate
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and grease and line the base of 3, 8 inch cake tins. Personally, I only have 2 tins so I divide the cake mixture between them, two thirds in one and one third in the other. If you do the same you’ll just need to leave the larger cake in the oven to cook for a little while longer.
So, now to get cracking, use a handheld or freestanding electric mixer to mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt together until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs.
In a jug or bowl mix together the milk, maple syrup and eggs. Gradually pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a slow speed until it’s well combined. Finally stir in the chopped pecans by hand.
Divide the cake mixture between your tins and pop them into the oven. If you’re using 3 tins they will need to cook for 20-25 minutes. Due to my cake tin deficiency, I removed my ‘one third’ cake after 20 minutes and checked that it was cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre and making sure that it came out clean. I left the ‘two thirds’ cake in the oven for a further 10 minutes before doing the skewer test, which I then did every 5 minutes until it came out clean, meaning my cake was perfectly cooked 🙂
Leave your cakes to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing them from their tins to cool completely.
In the meantime you can prepare the icing…
Pop the butter on a plate in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it (this will minimise the icing sugar snow storm that’s about to ensue). Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the butter and mix with an electric handheld or freestanding mixer until sandy in consistency and your kitchen is coated in a fine layer of icing sugar dust 🙂
Mix the milk and maple syrup together in a jug and add to the icing sugar mixture gradually, whilst mixing on a slow speed. Once it’s all added, crank up the speed and beat until soft and fluffy!
When you’re satisfied that your cakes are totally cold (don’t jump the gun or your icing will melt), you can assemble your cake. First cut the ‘two thirds’ cake in half. Put the first layer of cake on a plate and spread a layer of about 2 to 3 tablespoons of icing on top of it. I recommend having a glass of boiling water to hand to dip your (palette) knife into, this makes the icing a lot easier to spread! However, make sure you dry your knife after dipping it in the water, you just want it to be warm not wet!
Place your next layer of cake on top of the first one and repeat the process of spreading a layer of icing over it before placing the final layer on top. Pile all of the remaining icing on top of the cake and patiently work it down the edge of the cake so that the whole thing is coated. Use the same method of heating your (palette) knife to get a nice smooth finish. This takes practice so don’t worry if yours looks a bit ‘rustic’ I can guarantee that it’ll taste AMAZING anyway 🙂
To give it a pretty finishing touch decorate the top with the whole pecans that you saved earlier and there you have it…
It’s always nerve-wracking cutting into a cake, especially in front of a gang of hungry ladies…you’re never sure exactly what the inside will look like! Luckily I needn’t have worried, just look at this beauty…
It went down a storm…and proved to be the perfect hangover cure 🙂