Lockdown baking. It’s a thing. So much so that everyone is buying all the flour. All I can say is what’s wrong with you that you don’t bake all year round?!! I’ve been doing bits and pieces, using up ingredients I still had in the cupboard. I slightly adapted the hot cross bun recipe I baked a short while ago, and made cranberry, ginger and orange buns. I made focaccia (to be fair I make this a lot, it’s so useful to have a supply in the freezer), and I made confit garlic. This always sounds posher than it is, but in terms of having readily accessible garlic, it is a winner.
A combination of factors however has reduced my baking frequency. Lack of ingredients in the shops – bring back flour, especially bread flour, I am dying to restart my sourdough bread! And of course in lockdown I can’t feed everyone that I used to share out the results of my bakes with, and whilst I can eat all my cake, it’s probably not the best idea! Tempting, though, but not a good idea.
I have wanted to do something for ages using maple as the flavour, and I couldn’t find a recipe that floated my boat. In the end I decided to tweak (who, me?!?!) a recipe, and it turned out surprisingly well.
I chose to base the sponge cake on the recipe for vanilla sponge with raspberry buttercream which I baked a while back – sorry, but I’m a techno-dud and I can’t find the way to link to previous posts anymore 😦 but that recipe was based on the easy vanilla cake recipe from BBC Good Food. I replaced some of the sugar in the recipe with maple syrup, and reduced some of the liquid. Whilst the cake turned out fine, there was a point where I thought it might end up in the bin. The cake rose like Vesuvius in the oven and at the end of the baking time when I put a skewer in, it was still mostly uncooked inside. I put a piece of foil over the top of the cake to stop it burning and left it in the oven for a further 15 minutes. Luckily it was done then, and I decided to go the whole hog by drizzling a coffee syrup on top and covering it with a spiced maple buttercream. In spite of the dodgy moment, the cake turned out well, but I give the standard sponge cake recipe below and am leaving out my tweaks. In all honesty I don’t think adding the maple syrup to the sponge mix made a difference, next time I will stick to the standard sponge recipe.
250g butter, softened
250g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
5 large eggs – cracked into a jug and lightly whisked
85g plain flour
250g self-raising flour
100g plain full fat Greek yogurt (or plain Greek style yogurt)
3 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan). Grease and line a round 20cm baking tin with nonstick baking parchment.
With an electric whisk, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and ¼ teaspoon salt together until light and fluffy. Pour in the eggs a bit at a time, whisking well to incorporate. Beat in the yogurt.
Mix the two flours together and then fold them gently into the cake batter and mix in the milk. Spoon into the cake tin and bake for an hour and 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden – a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool for 30 minutes in the tin.
Meanwhile, make your coffee drizzle: In a small pot put 50g golden caster sugar with 50ml water and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Add two tablespoons of coffee granules and mix well.
Use a skewer to poke holes all over the cake, going right to the bottom. Pour the syrup over the cake slowly, letting it completely soak in after each addition.
Leave the cake to cool completely and then cover with frosting. I don’t have a recipe here, but choose your favourite vanilla buttercream recipe. Make the frosting up according to the recipe but instead of adding vanilla, add two tablespoons of Monin Maple Spice Syrup. Cover your cake with the frosting and breathe deeply.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂