And I really ought to make more because out of all things baked, nothing gets me more anxious, slightly terrified, yet all excited than baking a cake from scratch and dressing it up with lots of butter and sugar. Talk about a mix of emotions! I'd like to believe I'm not the only one though...
So, let's talk about this cake. Honestly, I was only curious about the Maple-Amarula frosting. The nuts, eh, not so much. But the combination of buttered nuts and maple-amarula frosting could be interesting, yes?
The cake smells and tastes divine, and the frosting's a win in my book. I would probably love this cake more sans nuts, haha. I just don't like em' in my cakes (or brownies) but some people do and it's just a personal preference.
Vanilla Buttered-Pecan Cake with Amarula Frosting (cake adapted from Joy of Baking; frosting & filling adapted from I SugarCoat It)
3 cups sifted all purpose flour (sift first, then measure)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup salted butter, room temp
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup low fat milk
Amarula Frosting and Filling
5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups salted butter, cut into cubes
1 tbsp crushed vanilla beans (I just used 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
1/4 cup Amarula Cream Liqueur
1 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
150g coarsely chopped pecans (I used walnuts)
1/4 cup salted butter
1 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350F; grease and line three 6" round cake pans with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Using a mixer, beat the butter until creamy and add in sugar gradually, beating it until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
5. Finally, add in the dry ingredients and milk alternately, starting and ending with the dry ingredients until it is well mixed (but not overmix!). Pour into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 28-30 mins, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
6. For Amarula Frosting: First, clean and ensure that your mixing bowl and whisk attachment is free from any traces of grease.
7. Add egg whites and granulated sugar into the mixing bowl and place it over a pot of simmering hot water. 8. Whisk the egg whites and sugar constantly, until the temperature reaches 160F. Alternatively, you can also check if all the sugar has dissolved by feeling them between your fingers.
9. Remove from heat and whip the egg white mixture until stiff peak forms. The bottom of the bowl should now be neutral to the touch (not the slightest bit warm). Slowly add butter until beat until incorporated. The mixture would probably curdle after adding the butter. Good. You're in the right direction.
10. Continue mixing and it will slowly turn into a creamy, silky, smooth buttercream. Now add the vanilla extract, Amarula and maple syrup and mix until well blended.
11. For the Buttered Pecans (or Walnuts): Chop nuts into small pieces and set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan and add in the chopped nuts. Stir the nuts in the butter until butter is bubbly and brown (about 10 mins). Remove from heat, strain the nuts and place nuts in a bowl. Add maple syrup and toss to coat.
12. To assemble: Place a layer of cake on a cake board/ serving plate on top a turntable (if you have one). Spread buttercream on top the cake layer and sprinkle the nuts. Repeat with another layer of cake. Top with the last layer of cake and crumbcoat the entire cake. Pop it in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up before frosting again with the rest of the buttercream.
Note: Cake is great on Day 1 but tastes even better on Day 2 (at least for me) so this would be kinda perfect for make-aheads.