Thursday, 21 October 2010

Maple and Pecan Squares

I've said before that Autumnal cooking, with its use of spices, nuts and seasonal fruit such as apples and pears, suits our tastes better than the more delicate flavours of Spring and Summer. This cake is a case in point, even though I'm borrowing flavours from another part of the world, and I'm not sure maple syrup is even Autumnal - don't they harvest as the sap rises? Anyway, it's something that I probably wouldn't think of making in the Spring.

The original recipe for these packed the cake batter with cocoa nibs and butterscotch chips, and called the result Maple Blondies. I replaced these additions with a smaller amount of chopped pecan nuts and am going to call the result a cake, because it was far too light  to fit in with my ideas of what a Blondie should be! The  simple flavours of pecans, maple syrup and vanilla made this cake delicious and somehow pure, for not having a range of competing flavours jostling together.


200g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
180g salted butter - softened
150g light muscovado sugar
125mls maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150g chopped pecan nuts - a mix of fine and coarse pieces

maple flakes - optional

Preheat the oven to 175C and line a 9" square tin with baking parchment.
Whisk the baking powder into the flour.
Cream the butter and muscovado sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the maple syrup and vanilla extract.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a tablespoon of the flour.
Fold in the rest of the flour and the chopped nuts. Transfer the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface.
Sprinkle the surface with a thick layer of maple flakes. (Most of these dissolved during cooking to give a crisp sugary topping to the cake.)
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a test probe comes out with a few moist crumbs still clinging.
Cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then cut into squares and leave to cool completely.


Foodycat said...

I don't even know what maple flakes are! But the cake sounds good.

As far as I know, the sap rises while there is still a lot of snow on the ground, so maple syrup is a very cold-weather thing.

Suelle said...

I bought the maple flakes in Canada, Foodycat. As far as I can see they are made by evaporating maple syrup to give something which is pure solid maple. It's not crystalline like sugar, but I hoped it would sit on the surface of a cake like demerara sugar does to give a nice topping. However, it usually dissolves in the moisture of the batter, although it does add a little extra concentrated flavour.

celia said...

I think you're spot on, Suelle, maple and pecan is a perfect combination of flavours!

Anne said...

The cake looks and sounds great, I love the whole maple n pecan combo!

Unfortunately just had to clear out entire baking cupboard due to some naughty moths that munched their way through all my stash of pecans, almonds and other lovelies :( Will have to make this when I re-stock!

Suelle said...

Celia - thanks!

Anne - how awful for you. Thankfully, I've never suffered from weevil infestation!