Canada Day weekend is upon us and it is my 11th. Over a decade has passed since I landed at Pearson airport to begin this chapter of my life. Toronto is where I have had both my girls and watched them enjoy freedoms and activities that my Saudi childhood did not allow me. It is where I have discovered the value of my voice as a Pakistani foodie. It is also where I have made the switch from banking to blogging with rarely a look back.
Perhaps equally importantly (lol) it is where I discovered Maple Syrup. Not the Aunt J variety which is like 2% Maple Syrup, but the real deal. We always talk about umami as another flavour dimension present in things like soy sauce, but I truly believe a good maple syrup has those notes too. Those, can’t quite put a finger on it, deep, seductive notes.
This recipe for Maple Pecan Cake is adapted from one of my favourite books of all time, the simply named Flour. Joanne Chang’s cake is made with a different technique, with the addition of cranberries and using cake flour. I really wanted this cake to be easier, simpler, and a little sturdier. I wanted a Maple Pecan Cake that you could pick up and take a bite of while sipping your evening chai.
Chai and Maple Pecan Cake sounds like quite the apropos fusion of my two cultures doesn’t it? Even more so when you factor in that Pecans are wildly popular in Southern treats and I spent four happy years in Lexington, VA noshing on Pecan Pralines made by friends’ grandmothers.
I debated added a glaze to this recipe to amp up the maple flavour. Then my daughter pointed out the obvious. If I want something to taste more maple-y shouldn’t I just add more maple syrup? Aha! So instead of whisking together a topping I simply drizzle some maple syrup over and call it a day.
Kinds of Maple Syrup
Now mind you all Maple Syrups are not created alike. Grade A maple syrup has a milder taste vs a Grade B one. I highly recommend getting a Grade B syrup. Trust me when I say it is a significant difference. Oh and all real Maple Syrup bottles are labelled with the Grade.
Hope all my Canadian friends have a sweet long weekend. I hope you try the cake and would love to see your recreations! Please rate the recipe below and tag me on instagram @flourandspiceblog – happy baking!
- 6 tbsp butter (room temp)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup buttermilk (or regular full fat milk)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp additional maple syrup (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prep a 9*5 loaf tin by greasing it, dusting with flour and tapping out the excess.
Dry roast the pecans in a small saucepan on medium heat, moving them around until they darken and smell toasty
Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring frequently until it is fully absorbed into the nuts
Remove from the saucepan immedately and on to a clean board or piece of parchment paper and let cool.
Toss with 1 tbsp of all purpose flour before adding to the cake to prevent sinking.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl and set aside
Measure your maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract directly into a measuring cup and set aside
Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed till fluffy and well combined
Add the eggs one by one beating for about a minute after each addition
With the mixer on low add half the flour, then the wet ingredients in your measuring cup then the remaining flour and mix until just combined. DO NOT over mix!
Now gently fold in most of your maple pecans – reserve some for the top.
Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin, scatter the remaining pecans on top
Bake for 35-45 minutes, mine was completely done at 35, a skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean
Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes then invert on to a plate and drizzle with additional maple syrup if desired.
The cake keeps well tightly wrapped and at room temperature for up to 4 days and tastes even better the day after it is made.
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