This Maple Pecan Pound Cake features a maple-flavored cake topped with lightly toasted pecans. A slice of this cake is perfect for a chilly autumn evening!
One of the unique foods associated with the northeastern part of the US is not a food at all. It’s a condiment. A condiment that comes from tree sap. I’m talking about maple syrup, of course. Not pancake syrup – that was the stuff we ate back in the 80’s. I’m talking about real maple syrup.
Canada produces the vast majority of the world’s maple syrup. After all, the Canadian flag features a maple leaf right in the center. Within the US, Vermont, New York and Maine produce the most maple syrup. I’ve had the chance to visit a couple of sugar shacks, and they’re always a fascinating experience. A sugar shack is literally just that – a shack where sap is boiled down into maple syrup.
For starters, you can literally smell a sugar shack before you ever see it. The sap evaporating into the air makes the entire area smell like maple syrup. Warning : whenever you drive within smelling distance of a sugar shack, you will get an instant craving for pancakes. Maybe some waffles, too. Maple syrup is made in the early spring when the sap first begins to run.
As tempting as it is to roll down your car window to catch a whiff, the arctic temperatures outside will make you think twice.
These sugar shacks are interesting places. The one we visit most often is set at the base of a large hill, and there are flexible tubes running from dozens of maple trees all over that hill. As the air warms up, the sap begins to run, and gravity carries that sap down the hill into the sugar shack. From there, the sap goes into a huge vat that essentially simmers the sap down to maple syrup. It’s that simple.
Maple syrup is made from one ingredient – sap. The amount of sap produced by a single tree varies, but it’s generally between 10-20 gallons each year. (Sugaring season only runs for 4-6 weeks in the early spring.) But the incredible thing is it takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. That means it could take the entire yearly production from 2 trees to produce a single gallon of syrup. The good thing (at least for us consumers) is a gallon of maple syrup is quite a bit of syrup!
Maple Pecan Pound Cake
Now that we’ve chatted a bit about sap, syrup and sugar houses, let’s switch our attention over to a recipe using some of that delicious nature’s candy. I feel like maple flavors pair so well with toasted pecans, so I set about baking this Maple Pecan Pound Cake.
The base of this pound cake uses a bit of cream cheese to add volume to the cake – cream cheese tends to puff up a bit as it bakes. From there, I added a bit of maple syrup into the cake as well as the glaze that gets drizzled on top. This cake is fan-freakin’-tastic!
Of course, we can’t forget the toasted pecans! I thought about mixing pecans directly into the cake, but I opted to sprinkle them on top instead. Next time, I might try both. Either way, this version worked quite well.
If you’re a fan of pound cakes, then put this recipe on your list of cakes to bake. It’s an easy, no-fuss recipe that features a strong hint of maple combined with the nutty flavor of toasted pecans. Even though maple syrup is produced in the early spring, this Maple Pecan Pound Cake screams autumn dessert to me. Happy baking!
Did you bake this Maple Pecan Pound Cake at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Maple Pecan Pound Cake
For the Cake
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups unsalted butter softened
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs divided
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
For the Glaze
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp milk
- ½ Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped pecans lightly toasted
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Grease and flour a 12-cup tube pan; set pan aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
- Add sugar; beat for 3-4 minutes on medium speed, or until mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, beat on low speed until just combined.
- Add flour and maple syrup, beat on low speed until just combined. (Tip: Make sure to scrape sides of bowl as needed.)
- Transfer batter into prepared tube pan.
- Bake for 80-90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out mostly clean.
- Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cool.
For the Glaze
- Using a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and maple syrup. Pour glaze on top of cooled cake, letting excess drip down sides of cake.
- Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of cake.
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