In the interest of full disclosure, I did not plan on writing an article about this cake at all. However, sometimes, a girl can no longer justify sitting in her bedroom listening to the Gilmore Guys podcast while doing nothing else. Sometimes, a girl gets a sudden urge to bake something fun, festive and tasty, and sometimes, said baked good ends up looking so pretty, it would be a crime for her not to share it with the world. Enter the maple pecan chocolate cake. Read on and enjoy, friends…
I’m not a cook, in any sense of the word. I definitely enjoy being in the kitchen, experimenting with various ingredients and flavours, seeing what happens when I add a bit of this or when I sautée my broccoli instead of roasting it, etc., however, I’m not a cook. Barring a cooking class I took when I was
a young warthog about 9 as part of the Girl Guides, I’ve not had any formal training in the kitchen (and, let’s be honest…that was maybe 2 hours of a professional chef trying to wrangle some very energetic children, and… I only did it for the badge). I’m not a baker, nor am I a candle-stick maker, but all of that being said, I think some of my happiest moments have been, are and will be spent in a kitchen.
Something about having the freedom to make, well, whatever you want to make, whether it be a quick bag of popcorn or a three-course meal, not having (many) limits and having the space and ability to let your creative juices flow really appeals to me. Thus, a few days ago, I stepped into the kitchen to conquer a strange yearning I had to make and subsequently eat some chocolate cake (fun facts about me: one, I’m not a big chocolate fan and two, as shameful as this may seem, before Sunday, I’d never made chocolate cake from scratch before). I didn’t know if the cake would rise or sink (HA! No pun intended!), but dangnabit, I was going to have fun in the process. Spoiler alert, it didn’t fail at all; in fact, I’ll be damned if it’s not one of my greatest achievements in the kitchen…
Today’s write-up is going to be different, as I didn’t do anything ground-breaking to create this delicious cake, and I don’t really have anything crazy to say about the process of making it. I merely followed a recipe, then followed another for the icing/frosting, and got a bit creative for the decoration stage (my favourite part!). However, I really wanted to share this with you, partly out of pride and partly out of hope that this can inspire you, encourage you to try something new or… fill in your own blank here. Yes, this cake is far from perfect; as aforementioned, I’m no Sookie St. James (sorry, I’ve been thoroughly immersed in Stars Hollow lately, blame it on the #Hollowcast ;)), but hey, it’ll do. 🙂
After flipping through my go-to baking cookbook, Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, I didn’t see any recipes that inspired me, so I hit up my other failsafe recipe haven, Pinterest. Seriously, if you ever need inspiration for anything, but especially recipe and meal ideas, Pinterest is the place to go. Soon after discovering this amazing recipe for moist and fluffy yet also rich and chocolately cake via The Kitchn, I pulled out ol’ faithful (all hail Kitchen Aids, haha) and got to work. The result? Fluffy, tender, delectable chocolately amazingness. Seriously though, Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker better watch their backs, they’ve got stiff, or rather soft and gooey, competition here. Quick, simple and oh-so-tasty!
This was the hard part. Icing, frosting, topping, whatever you call it, I LOVE IT. I had no idea what direction I wanted to take with the frosting for this cake. While I wanted to do something fun and fall-appropriate, I also wanted to make the cake visually appealing and suitable for my family’s tastes. After much deliberation, I decided on a maple buttercream to frost it, which, to be honest, I loosely based off of this recipe on Pinterest via This Silly Girl’s Life. My mom used to bake a lot and if I do say so myself, she’s an expert in buttercream, so I felt oddly confident going in that I didn’t need to stick to the measurements provided (I just needed the basics to know where to start to add the maple flavour). After adding the key ingredients, I thought I’d branch out and add a pinch or two of cinnamon and nutmeg to spice things up a little (HA! I’m so punny today! :P), but the maple flavour is so overwhelming (in a good way), that you can hardly taste it. Now I know for next time! 🙂
You Pecan’t Handle The Truth…
After I let the cake cool, made the buttercream frosting and botched, I mean, frosted the cake, it looked nice, but it needed some joie-de-vivre! For decoration, I didn’t really know what to do, but while I was baking the cake, I was also making some candied pecans to use in my favourite salad (if you haven’t ever tried spinach, mandarin pieces, blue cheese and candied pecans together, trust me when I say, you haven’t lived life to the fullest. Try it, you can thank me later) and then it hit me… THE PECANS!!! I usually kind of just do my own thing when it comes to candying pecans, but this particular batch included some brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, cayenne pepper, butter and of course, maple syrup (oh, look at that, what a perfect tie-in for the maple buttercream!! ;)). The pecans add a nice crunch and soft, subtle spicy flavour to the cake, and as a centred topper, it isn’t a baked-in part of the cake that you cannot avoid. This works well for my family, as my mom isn’t a big pecan fan, so she can avoid them all together when cutting her slices, leaving my dad and I, who LOVE pecans, especially candied, to duel for them. It’s a win-win!
As for the sprinkles…
Ah, you know what? I was about to wax poetic about how much I aim to always live a colourful and beautiful life and how sprinkles = joy & happiness, but let’s face it: they’re fun, pretty and BRIGHT. ‘Nough said. I went a little crazy with them, but repeat after me: the more sprinkles, the better, no if’s, and’s or but’s! 😀
So, there you have it! A couple of hours in the kitchen on an ordinary Sunday led to a delicious, soft and ooey-gooey cake with a sweet frosting that everyone can enjoy. This mish-mash combination of some fairly random things ended up being such a lovely combo and I’ll tell you, it looks like my family will be finished the cake before the end of day today, haha! It’s a crowd-pleaser, not for the fair of heart, meaning, don’t try this if you don’t like sweet and fluffy cake, but please trust me when I say that this awesome cake is certainly worth the sugar crash! So, the next time your friends call to announce they’re coming over for a last minute game night, you’re bored and out of things to do or you’re looking to whip up something great in the kitchen, what are you going to do…? Why, whip this up, of course! After all…
It’s a piece of cake! 😉
Have a great day, friends! 🙂