Monday, 2 March 2009

Autumnal Birthday Cake

That's a benefit of using this as a birthday cake: you can allow yourself a little ironic leeway - Nigella Lawson

I'm not entirely sure it was ironic that I made this cake for a friend who's birthday is February 29, and who turned 41 this year - I did joke that it was entirely appropriate that I was making him an autumnal cake as he entered the autumn of his years at the junction of summer and autumn!

The verdict: With a cake that uses almost half a litre of maple syrup (in the cake and the icing) I'm not sure why I was so surprised when it tasted almost like pancakes!

Unusual or substituted ingredients: Well, I've mentioned the maple syrup already - quite expensive it makes it too, if you use the real stuff (at least here in Australia!) - but definitely worth it, I think - I'm always a bit suspicious of things like "maple flavoured syrup".

Special utensils or cookware: Nothing special required, if you are a baker and have the required tins! It did have an unusual method (well, at least, one I've never used before) to make the icing. It uses egg whites, maple syrup, sugar and a few other bits and pieces - which is beaten with an electric hand mixer in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, until it thickens like meringue. It was quite amazing to watch the mixture change from a browny syrup into fluffy white meringue!

Repeatability: I've been wanting to make this cake for a while but kept putting it off because it looked a bit fussy and time-consuming - but it's not really that bad at all - I mean, it's clearly not the quickest cake, having to do the cakes and then the icing, but for such an impressive looking cake, it's worth it!

Sauciness: Definitely! Especially the yumbo icing. I really was amazed at the flavour of this cake. And really moist too - very good cake, definitely something a bit different!

Overall pleasure level: I give this an 8.5 - moist delicious autumny goodness!