Maple syrup. It’s amazing that a maple tree can offer up such sweetness. Maple syrup season occurs each spring here in Quebec. Of course, Mother Nature plays a key role in its production. The weather needs to be above 0 degrees C during the day and it is imperative that it freezes overnight. In this way, the sap freezes overnight and when the temperature rises above zero during the day, it allows for the sap to flow through the tree. This sweet water is collected and boiled down until the water has evaporated, leaving behind nature’s sweetest of delicacies!
40 litres of water (10 1/2 U.S. gallons) is required to produce a mere 1 litre (a 1/4 of a gallon) of maple syrup. With Quebec producing 85% of the world’s maple syrup production, it’s no wonder The Great Maple Syrup Heist occurred right here on my home turf. It is hailed as the greatest agricultural theft ever, with 6 million pounds of maple syrup, valued at $18 million dollars, stolen from the Global Maple Syrup Reserve. Lucky for me, I have my stash safe and sound!
We love maple syrup in our household. Not just over pancakes and waffles, but baking and cooking with it as well. One of our favourites is Maple Syrup Cake with Maple Syrup Frosting from The Moosewood Restaurant Book of Deserts. This recipe makes a beautiful and delicious double layered cake. I keep some of my empty maple syrup tins and decided to bake a small cake in it. Appropriate, no? A little maple syrup cake baked in its tin! You could bake 4, maybe 5, and they would be perfect to give as gifts, with a ribbon tied around it. They would be great for bake sales as well.
Maple Syrup Cake
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or oil 2 round cake pans and dust with flour.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In an electric mixer, or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add maple syrup and vanilla, and beat well. Mix in the applesauce and then gently fold in the dry ingredients, just until combined. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in its centre comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack.
If baking cakes in tins, fill it about 2/3 full and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
As the cakes cool, proceed with the frosting.
Maple Syrup Frosting
1/2 cup of butter, softened
2 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of maple syrup
Begin by creaming the butter in an electric mixer or with a hand blender. Add the confectioner’s sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and maple syrup, and beat well.
One does need to taste-test the cake before serving it to your loved ones, don’t you think? Therefore, I always slice the top off one of the cakes and that’s the one that will serve as the bottom layer, holding the centre’s frosting. You could frost just the top and centre and leave as is. Or you could go all the way and frost all around the cake’s sides as well. It’s up to you!
As for that little cake baked in the tin, you could leave it as is. Or, you could poke some holes into it and pour some maple syrup over the top, allowing for the sponge to absorb that liquid gold. Slice it up and eat as is, or add a little dollop of maple syrup frosting. Or go for both ways. I did!