With the winter winds rolling in and turning back our clocks to shift from Daylight Savings Time, somehow maple syrup and toasted pecans come to mind. Maybe the fact that maple syrup was first collected and used by Native Americans, it seems like a good time for it to make an appearance for some pastry making.
This also feels like the season for loaf cakes. Whether you're making a treat to enjoy with your favorite afternoon beverage or thinking of someone who may appreciate a gift, loaf cakes are a welcome pleasure, a simple and unadorned pastry that comes together in a jiffy without much muss or fuss.
This cake is made using the standard creaming method. There’s a little spice, a good sampling of maple syrup and lots of toasted pecans. Orange zest and a touch of brandy add more flavor and a festive touch appropriate to the season. After the cake is baked, it’s brushed with a mixture of butter and more maple syrup for a nice finish.
For a sweet nod to autumn, share a slice of this cake. You can always count on a little pastry to liven up your table.
- Toast pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.
- "Room temperature" butter means the chill has been take off and it's pliable but not soft to the touch. It should not look oily or greasy.
- For cake mixing, always add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next. The batter is ready for the second egg when it no longer has a shiny slick on the surface.
- It's super important to scrape down the bowl often when mixing cake batters to ensure that the fat clinging to the bottom and sides gets fully incorporated into the batter, avoiding streaks of butter that will leave tunnels in your baked cake.
- If you're not enamored of pecans, toasted walnuts are a good alternative.
Pecan Maple Loaf Cake
Makes 1 loaf
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) brandy
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (2 1/2 oz) toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 oz (1/2 tablespoon) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup