This impressive-looking maple layer cake, with amber syrup drizzled over billowy mounds of frosting, pays homage to a classic early spring New England treat. At maple-sugaring time, snow is scooped up outside the sugarhouse and drizzled with hot maple syrup. The result is a taffy-like confection known as “sugar on snow.”
- 3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and divided (see Tip)
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature (see Tip)
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- Maple Cream Frosting & Drizzle
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons dried egg whites, reconstituted according to package directions (see Note)
- 1 cup maple syrup, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- To prepare cake: Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Dust pans with flour, tapping out the excess. Line bottoms with parchment or wax paper and coat it with cooking spray.
- Combine 3/4 cup nuts, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor; process the until nuts are finely ground. Combine buttermilk, oil and 1 tablespoon vanilla in a glass measuring cup.
- Combine eggs, egg whites and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes.
- Alternately fold the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 additions of liquid. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading evenly.
- Bake the layers until the tops spring back when touched lightly and the cake just starts to pull away from the pan, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and invert onto the rack. Remove paper; let cool completely.
- To prepare frosting: Combine water and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin and let soften 1 minute.
- Bring about 1 inch of water to a bare simmer in a wide pot. Combine reconstituted egg white, 1/2 cup maple syrup, cream of tartar and salt in a heatproof mixing bowl large enough to fit over the pot. Set the bowl over the water and beat with an electric mixer on low speed, moving the beaters constantly, for 4 minutes.
- Increase mixer speed to high and continue beating for 3 1/2 minutes longer. Remove the bowl from the heat. Add the gelatin mixture and continue to beat until cooled to room temperature, 4 to 5 minutes longer.
- Beat cream in a chilled bowl until medium-firm peaks form. Fold in meringue with a rubber spatula. 10. To assemble & decorate cake: Frost the cake, using about 1 cup frosting between layers and the rest on the top and sides. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours. 11. No more than 1 hour before serving, place a large shallow bowl of water beside the stove. Bring the remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and boil gently, without stirring, until a little syrup dropped into cold water forms a thread between your fingers, 5 to 10 minutes. Immediately dip the base of the saucepan in water to stop cooking and cool the syrup quickly. 12. When the syrup has cooled and thickened slightly, use a spoon to drizzle it over the cake (rewarm over low heat if the syrup has hardened). 13. Chop the remaining 1/3 cup nuts. Press the nuts around the bottom half of the cake with a flat metal spatula or pastry scraper.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Tightly wrap the cake layers and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Tips: To toast whole nuts: Spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes.
- To bring an egg to room temperature: Either set it out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge it (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
- Note: Dried egg whites are pasteurized so this product is a wise choice in dishes that call for an uncooked meringue. They are also convenient in recipes calling for egg whites because there is no waste. Look for brands like Just Whites in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets or online at bakerscatalogue.com.
Per serving: 254 calories; 9 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono); 33 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 1 g fiber; 183 mg sodium; 144 mg potassium.
Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2
Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 2 other carbohydrate, 1 1/2 fat
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