Normally, my only quarrel with yellow cake is that it is simply sugary sweet without much depth of flavor. In this recipe, the addition of maple syrup to the batter adds some caramel notes and complexity. The cake is very moist, but if you fancy a little extra flavor, brush on a little brown sugar syrup.
Chocolate buttercream is usually made with cocoa powder, so for a change, this recipe is made with melted milk chocolate. For the best consistency and flavor choose Valrhona. In this case, I used Jivara 40%.
Yellow Maple Cake
Yield: two 6" round cakes
-250g all purpose flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-3/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-150g unsalted butter, soft
-215g granulated sugar
-65g maple syrup
-2 eggs, room temperature
-1/4 cup sour cream
-3/4 cup whole milk
-two 6" round cake pans, buttered, floured with a parchment round lining the bottom
-oven preheated to 350F
1. In a bowl, measure out the dry ingredients and thoroughly whisk them together.
2. In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. If the eggs are not at room temperature, you can submerge them in warm water for several minutes. Warm eggs will make your batter smoother and less likely to curdle.
4. Add the maple syrup and mix.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk and sour cream.
6. Add the flour in two additions, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth.
7. Evenly divide the batter into two 6" round cake pans. If you only have one pan, go ahead and bake one cake, leaving the remaining batter in a room-temperature environment and bake the second cake after cleaning, greasing, flouring, and adding a parchment round to the pan. It won't hurt the batter to sit out for 30 minutes or so before being baked.
8. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes in a 350F oven until the center is set and doesn't giggle when tapped, or a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
9. Run a knife around the edges of the cakes and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool bottom side down.
Milk Chocolate Buttercream
-275g milk chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
-300g butter, soft
-pinch of salt
-300g confectioner's sugar
1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer aerate the butter.
2. To the butter, add the sugar and mix.
3. Add the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
Brown Sugar Syrup
-150g brown sugar
-pinch of salt
1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan and boil until dissolved. Let cool.
Assemble the Cake
I like to slice my cakes into two or three layers to create more height, maximum syrup absorption, and an even cake-to-buttercream ratio. If you are not confident doing this, just use the two thicker cakes. They will taste good! But, I encourage you to try your hand at slicing the cakes. It just takes a little practice and steadiness. Use a serrated bread knife to do the slicing. I will make a video on how to do this in the future.
Once your layers are ready, apply the syrup to the first. Use a pastry brush and allow the cake to soak the syrup out of it. Think of your brush more like a syrup depositor. Don't use it like a paint brush. More syrup is the goal.
Next, apply your buttercream to layer one. I used about 2 heaping tablespoons for each layer.
Smooth the buttercream into an even layer and lightly coat the sides of the cake. Refrigerate if the cake is too fragile/wobbly.
When the cake is built, decorate it however you like. For this cake, I coated the outside of the cake in a thin layer of buttercream and gently pressed sprinkles against the outside. The top is decorated with tiny rosettes applied with a small star tip.
I served the cake with a homemade dark chocolate syrup. I couldn't resist adding a little darker chocolate touch. Recipe to come!
Make a cake, raise a glass of milk, and enjoy a moment with the people you love.