SOMEONE TURNS SEVENTEEN TODAY!
Happy Birthday, Chief! You’ll always be a puppy for us…
Birthday requires cake. Obviously.
The other day I saw a compilation of cakes by Food & Wine, a sort of “bucket list of cakes.” You can check it out here. According to the article, if you bake one of those cakes each month, at the end of the year you will become a very accomplished baker, mastering all techniques that matter. Danger attracts me, because I was immediately mesmerized by the list and next think I knew, the first one was in the oven. No idea what makes it a “snacking cake” but the name has a good vibe. Plus, it mixes two flavors I love, maple and pumpkin. I am not too wild about pecans, but it’s always good to have an excuse to crack open that bag hibernating in the freezer. This cake is incredibly easy to make, smells amazing, and everyone raved about it. Now, before you get too excited: NO, I am not baking the other 11 cakes. And YES, this is my final answer.
MAPLE PUMPKIN PECAN SNACKING CAKE
(adapted from Food and Wine magazine)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces pecans (about 1 to 1 + 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons demerara sugar for sprinkling
Heat the oven to 325° and grease an 8-inch square cake pan,
In a medium bowl, whisk together the two types of flour, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.
In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, toast the pecans until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer half of the nuts to a small food processor and pulse until a coarsely ground flour forms. Roughly chop the remaining pecans over a cutting board into small-sized pieces. Add both the pecan meal and loosely chopped pieces to the bowl of dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until very smooth. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the surface of the cake batter with the spatula and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be crispy from the scattered sugar-coating.
Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: The cake is baked in an 8-inch square pan, so it is reasonably small. Food and Wine lists 8 servings, but I cut it into 20 small squares so that more colleagues could be happy in a cold and foggy Monday morning. Perfect antidote for that type of day, if you ask me. What I loved the most about it was the crust that the demerara sugar formed while baking. Delicious contrast with the brownie-type cake underneath. Notice the lack of leavening agents, the cake is pretty similar to a one-pan brownie, easy and straightforward. Pecans were perfect, but I bet walnuts would work equally well.
Cake number one was pretty painless, I must admit. I like to leave the game while I’m winning, so I’ll stop right here. Although a certain gentleman is lobbying quite heavily for a particular six-layer coconut nightmare. Yeah, when pigs fly over Kansas wearing pink tutus.
Hi, my name is Molly Merlot, I am awfully cute, but I promise you, I don’t fly!
(photo published with permission from Wilson Creek Winery)
ONE YEAR AGO: Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup
TWO YEARS AGO: Sweet Fifteen!
THREE YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flaxseed Sourdough
FOUR YEARS AGO: Green Beans with Miso and Almonds
FIVE YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones
SIX YEARS AGO: White Bread