This Maple Walnut Cake blends the warming flavors of maple and toasted nuts. A slice of this cake is the perfect dessert at the end of a busy day!
A couple of weeks ago, Laura had a haircut appointment up in Saratoga Springs, and I begged her to stop by the bulk section of a grocery store up there to get me some maple sugar. “What’s in it for me?,” she joked. “A slice of Maple Walnut Cake,” I told her. The response: “Done.” This Maple Walnut Cake is one of our favorite cakes (heck, isn’t every cake a favorite? I mean it’s cake!). Laura asked me why I was making this cake for the blog again, and I told her I’ve never actually posted this one. I’ve made it several times over the years, but this Maple Walnut Cake never made it to the blog…until now!
As I’ve mentioned before, I signed up to take baking classes at the local community college when we first moved up here. We didn’t know anyone. It was winter. And I was locked in our apartment writing a dissertation about why smaller colleges and universities pursue expensive athletic programs. I needed an outlet. Oh, and we shared a wall with a neighbor who “practiced” his DJ skills…from 8am-2am. Learning how to bake in a professional setting was a great outlet.
What is Maple Sugar
One cold Wednesday afternoon, I showed up in class, and I was assigned this Maple Walnut Cake. I like maple. I like walnuts. Score! But this cake is unique in that it uses maple sugar. Have you ever heard of maple sugar? It’s not just sugar with maple syrup mixed in. Nope, maple sugar looks like light brown sugar, and it’s made from maple syrup. More specifically, maple sugar is what happens when maple sap is cooked beyond the point needed for maple sugar. It’s easier to think about maple sugar as maple syrup in granulated sugar form.
Maple sugar is expensive. There’s no getting around it. After all, it starts from pure maple syrup, and it takes roughly 4 cups of maple syrup to make 3 cups of maple sugar. But it’s so worth it! We can find maple sugar here in the northeast in the bulk sections at several co-ops and larger grocery stores, but you can also order it online. I imagine you could also substitute light brown sugar for this Maple Walnut Cake, but that version won’t have the wonderful maple flavor. If you’re looking for a unique and fun cake, then make this Maple Walnut Cake. Trust me when I say that maple sugar is magical! (I’ve also seen this method for making maple sugar at home, but I’ve never tried it.)
Maple Walnut Cake
Back to this cake. The warming smells and flavors of maple and toasted nuts come together to create a cake that will leave folks begging for another slice. Trust me! We actually had to slice this cake up and freeze it to keep ourselves from going crazy and eating it all in a single weekend. We’ve taken this cake to friends’ and neighbors’ houses, and it always gets high reviews. It’s delicious!
I used a classic American buttercream with the addition of a bit of maple syrup for this cake, but Laura pointed out that a cream cheese frosting would work here, too. She’s right. Although the ingredients aren’t the same, this cake does remind me a bit of carrot cake thanks to the chopped nuts. And carrot cake goes well with cream cheese frosting. Hmmm…guess I’ll need to ask Laura to get me some more maple sugar next time she gets a haircut!
I hope you enjoy this Maple Walnut Cake as much as we do. It’s one of our favorites! If you make this cake, swing back by and leave a comment…or better yet, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). Cheers, friends!
Looking for more fun cake ideas? Check these out, too!