Tag Archives: hummingbird bakery

Triple layer maple & pecan cake…any excuse!

Last weekend I had 3 events to celebrate…

  1. Girls on tour…a weekend away for my good friend Nic’s hen.
  2. My friend Bee growing old very gracefully.
  3. and last but not least ‘The Afternoon Tease’s’ 2nd blog birthday! (I wonder…are blog years like dog years?)
To be honest I don’t usually need an excuse so to have 3 was epic! I thought I’d use them to revisit this divine triple layer (see what I did there) maple and pecan cake, originally from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days recipe book…

It’s a gorgeous cake, very moist and decadent and as I recently discovered after lugging it all the way from Cambridge to Brighton…it’s very heavy!
To give it a go for yourself you need…

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

360ml milk

40ml maple syrup

3 eggs

100g pecans, chopped

And for the icing…

240g unsalted butter

750g icing sugar

60ml milk

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 🙂

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They’re not Terry’s…they’re my chocolate orange cupcakes…

If you’re a Terry’s chocolate orange fan, you’ll absolutely love these cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery ‘Cake Days’ book…

The added bonus being that you don’t need to battle with the sphere of chocolatey orange goodness to enjoy the taste! Is it just me or is it ridiculously difficult to segment a chocolate orange in a ladylike fashion?

To make your own chocolate orange cupcakes you’ll need…

70g unsalted butter, softened

210g caster sugar

105g soft light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp finely grated orange zest

255g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

240ml whole milk

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line a cupcake tin (or two) with cupcake cases. This recipe is quite generous, it made me 16 cupcakes.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, followed by the zest and vanilla extract.

Sift the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) into the butter and sugar mixture on a slow speed, alternating with the milk until everything is incorporated. Then give it a medium speed whizz until smooth.

Fill the cupcake cases with the cake batter until they are two thirds full, don’t be tempted to overfill them or your cupcakes will end up with an unsightly ‘muffin top’!

Bake them in the oven for about 18 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed gently. I always err on the side of undercooking as opposed to overcooking and checked mine after about 15 minutes.

Once you’re happy that they’re cooked, remove them from the oven and leave to cool before frosting. 

For the frosting you need…

600g icing sugar

100g unsalted butter, softened

250g full fat cream cheese

60g cocoa powder

3 tsp finely grated orange zest

The recipe suggested using some candied orange peel, thinly sliced for decoration. Needless to say my local Tesco didn’t stock such a delicacy so I just did without.

Whisk the icing sugar and butter (try popping your butter into the microwave in a bowl for 30 seconds first) in an electric mixer on a slow speed until it has the consistency of coarse sand and there aren’t any big lumps lurking. Add the cream cheese and cocoa powder and turn the speed up to medium, mixing until the frosting is smooth and light. Finally stir in the orange zest by hand.

Smooth the chocolate orange frosting onto your cupcakes with a palette knife and if you were lucky enough to find candied orange peel you can use it to adorn each one. I hope that you’ll agree that they look sufficiently tempting without! 🙂

I didn’t think such a small amount of orange zest would provide such a delicious orangey taste…and as with all Hummingbird Bakery recipes…they are moist, light and deliciously more-ish!…


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