It's all small and deep and loose-bottomed. Very exciting.
I've been looking for a smaller tin for a while, because we only have an 8" and a 9", which means that if I make a small quantity of cake mixture (because in my house we never finish big cakes), it ends up as a really wide and flat cake. Which looks rubbish.
So now I can bake small-ish cakes in my lovely 7-inch tin, and they will still look (fairly) nice. I was pretty stuck for inspiration for a while, though. There were too many different things I wanted to do, and I didn't know how to combine them in the right ways. But I got my family to help me with working out what would be nice, and then this cake was born.
And I don't want to brag or anything, but it was really quite good. It was very sweet - almost too sweet. Well, almost. I think it's because maple syrup is so sweet that it's sweeter than sugar. So you have to use less to make up for it (and I didn't). Oh well.
It's a pretty easy method to make the cake. But now I think about it, it could have been even easier. So I'll tell you what I did, and I'll also tell you what I would do if I made it again.
- It's based on the one and only cake ratio - equal parts of flour, fat, sugar and egg. Except, not quite. Because this time we have five ingredients - flour, fat, egg, sugar and honey/syrup (they're classed as one because they're basically interchangeable). So instead of doing equal parts of all of those (that would be madly sweet and far too rich), I reduced all of them slightly. Leaving me with 2/3 the amount of flour, of everything else. In other words, 270g Flour, 180g Eggs (3 big ones), 180g Butter, 180g Sugar, 180g Honey/Maple syrup. I used half-and-half honey and syrup, but you could easily use all one or all the other. However, if you use all maple syrup, I would recommend you reduce the quantity a bit more because of how sweet it is - maybe 150g or something.
- I also added baking powder. I know, I know, I go on about how you don't need baking powder in cakes (and you still don't!), but because I was making this cake in a way that would have made it difficult to generate enough air manually, I added some just in case. I added about 2tsp Baking Powder.
- Getting onto the actual method then. I based it on the method used for a lot of honey cakes, which is to melt together the fat, sugar and honey, and then add that to the eggs and flour. I put the sugar, butter, honey and maple syrup in a small pan and heated it up until they were all fully liquefied and mixed together. Then I let them cool for a while - at least half an hour at room temperature, or you could put it in the fridge if you want it to be quicker, but make sure you keep an eye on it. You want it to be lukewarm, not chilled, because the butter will go solid again.
- Once it's cool enough that it isn't going to cook the eggs, mix it with the eggs, flour and baking powder. Then you can bake it.
- That's the method I used, but if I did it again, I would do it differently. I wouldn't bother with the melting part, I would probably just make it like a pound cake. That is, mix together the butter and sugar, (adding the honey/maple syrup at this point), then add the eggs and flour. There is no reason the ingredients need to be melted except to make them easier to mix together, and if you mix them in the right order, then it's just as easy when they are all still room temperature. So that's what I'd do, but of course it's up to you.
- Bake it at 180C until done. The time will depend on the size and shape of your tin, and your oven (and the phase of the moon). (Not really). Mine was about 40 minutes or so, but I left it in too long and it got a bit overcooked. More on that later. You can use the toothpick test as usual.
You may have noticed that I decorated this cake too. This is a fairly rare occurrence for me, and something I'm quite proud of. The frosting was really simple, though.
- Equal parts butter and icing sugar. For this cake, I used 220g Butter and 220g Icing Sugar.
- For the coffee-ness, just add dissolve some instant coffee granules in a little bit of water. I used about 3tsp Coffee and dissolved it in as little cold water as I could.
- Mix it together. It will go nice and fluffy if you can use an electric hand whisk or something, but a manual whisk would be fine.
- Spread it on however you like. Then keep it in the fridge.
- For mine, I just sort of spread it all over as evenly as I could, and then splodged it around to make the sticky up shapes, because I knew I wouldn't be able to get it perfectly smooth, so I wanted it to look deliberate.
I mentioned that I overcooked my cake. This often spells disaster, but because I was already planning to cover it all over in icing, I had a solution. I cut the crust off, all over the surface. That's why the cake looks like it's been cut into a shape with straight sides in some of the photos - because it has. It was luckily unnoticeable under the icing, and still tasted good.