Autumnal Birthday Cake

Autumnal birthday cake


Yields: 8 slices

For The Cake

  • 175 grams butter (softened)
  • 100 grams golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 350 millilitres maple syrup
  • 500 grams self-raising flour
  • 175 millilitres hot water

For The Icing

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 125 millilitres maple syrup
  • 125 grams golden caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon maple extract (optional)
  • 125 grams pecan nuts


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160°C Fan. Grease two 21cm (8-inch) sandwich tins with butter and line the bases with baking parchment. Beat together the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in well after each addition, then gradually add the maple syrup to make a smooth mixture. Finally, spoon in the flour alternately with the hot water, beating gently until smooth again. Divide the batter between the two tins, and cook for 40 minutes. A cake-tester, inserted, should come out clean when they’re cooked. Let the cakes cool in their tins on a rack for 10 minutes before unmoulding them, then leave them to get cold before you get on with the icing.

Put everything except the pecans and extracts into a glass or metal bowl that fits over a saucepan to form a double boiler. Fill the saucepan with enough water to come just below - but not touching - the bowl when it sits on top. Bring the water to the boil, set the bowl on top and, using an electric hand-held whisk, beat the mixture vigorously for 5-7 minutes. It should stand up in peaks like a meringue mixture. Take the bowl off the saucepan, away from the heat, and add the extracts, beating them in for another minute. Cut out 4 strips of baking parchment and use to line the cake plate. Using your dreamy, ivory-coloured meringue, ice the middle, sides and top of the cake. Give the icing a swirly effect rather than smooth, letting the top have small peaks. Chop most of the pecans finely, leaving some pieces larger. Sprinkle over the top of the cake, and throw at the sides. This cake is best eaten the day it’s cooked.

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