Maple Pear Cake – a fresh maple pear cake with maple spice buttercream. A new layer cake recipe by our contributor, Tessa Huff.
Wherever you are and whatever you are celebrating this season, this is the cake for you. It doesn’t scream “Holiday,” but has all the makings of a festive treat. It’s the kind of cake you can enjoy either wrapped up in a cozy blanket next to a fire or impress guests with by presenting it at your next seasonal gathering.
Bottom line – this cake is just plain delicious. It has all of the flavors of the season, without being too in-your-face festive or gimmicky. The shredded pears add plenty of moisture while the bit of almond meal lends great texture and flavor to this tender, little cake. I was planning on a maple buttercream, but maple alone just wasn’t cutting it. Instead, a pinch of spice and dash of molasses create great depth of flavor and help balance out the cloyingness of straight maple syrup. The vanilla bean seeds add a touch of warmth in both the cake and frosting to round out all of the flavors.
Once assembled, I frosted the cake as smoothly as possible. I used an open star tip to pipe simple stars around the bottom. For the top of the cake, I piped shells around the edges – starting at the edge furthest from me, then tapering off the pressure and pulling the tails towards the center, rotating the cake as I went. To finish, pipe small stars again on top of the tails of the shells. The fluted tip ads an abundance of texture that makes you look like a world-class pastry chef without too much effort.
MAPLE PEAR CAKE
a recipe by Tessa Huff
(makes one 6″ 3-layer cake — 10 servings)
For the Pear Almond Cake:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup shredded pears
1/4 cup milk
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour there 6-inch cake pans a set aside.
- Sift together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
- Add in the sugar and mix until light and fluffy (about 2 to 4 minutes).
- Add in the maple syrup, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until combined.
- Stop the mixer and scrap down the bowl.
- With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in two batches – mixing until everything has just combined.
- Add in the pears and milk. Fold until combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the three pans. Bake for about 22 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans to cool completely.
For the Maple Spice Buttercream:
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk to combine.
- Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer.
- Place the mixing bowl (with the egg whites) on top to create a double boiler.
- Heat the egg mixture (stirring intermittently) until it reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- Once hot, carefully transfer the bowl back to the mixer. Whip on high with the whisk attachment for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature and the meringue holds stiff peaks.
- Swap the whisk for the paddle attachment, and with the mixer on low, begin adding in the butter a few tablespoons at a time.
- Once the butter starts to incorporate, add in the maple syrup, molasses, vanilla and cinnamon. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until smooth.
NOTE: If the mixture looks curdled after adding the butter, just keep mixing until it is smooth (this could take up to 5-10 minutes). If it appears soupy, place the mixer bowl in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, then mix until smooth.
Find more cake recipes, cupcake recipes and tutorials in our Fall Baking Gallery!