Look, I got off my lazy ass and I baked a cake. Well, actually, I really wanted to. I was in one of those MOODS. I just needed to bake a cake. I’d imagine this is how drug addicts feel on a consistent basis. Ok, not really. But you get what I’m saying here, right? This cake-baking, it’s an addiction from which there is no release. The only way out is to bake more cakes. A terrible affliction indeed.
Luckily after a quick poll of my friends, I was able to justify my urges (enablers, all of you!). Of course I didn’t need my friends to figure out a good reason, but I really like conducting polls. Is that strange? You really don’t have to answer, I already know that it is. Back to the point, which is this: my roommate came back yesterday after a long sojourn in India, so that provided the perfect excuse to bake a welcome back fom India cake.
I went with a maple cake, mostly because it meant very little by way of buying ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, I love the grocery store. The grocery store is my church. But lately I have been feeling very tired of crowds, and unfortunately I have this thing called a “job” which means I can’t just saunter over to Rainbow Foods at 11am and shop like a normal human being. The only time that is available to me is the same time that is available to every other phrenetic cart pusher in the universe. I like to take my time, people. I’m real fucking spiritual about it. It takes me a few minutes to pick out the cucumber that is speaking to me. I don’t need generic yoga woman #3 edging her cart up against me while I’m in my fucking mecca. Like seriously the universe will not explode if you wait 45 seconds while I ponder which flavors of yogurt I’m going to buy this time, lady. GOD.
So, the cake. It’s sweet. I mean, there’s like…a ton of maple syrup in it. So it’s homey sweet, not sweet sweet. I browned the butter that went into the cream cheese frosting, and I also threw a vanilla bean piece in there for good measure. Both of these actions were, if I may humbly say, strokes of pure genius. I mean, look at that frosting. Not only was it fantastically speckled, but it was totally flavorful.
I think this is the part where I have to excuse my discombobulated writing today. For one, I’m sick. It feels as though my head is floating several feet off my body, and it’s making it extremely difficult to write with any sort of panache. Apologies! But honestly? It’s not too different from how I normally write. In general I guess I’m just sort of a discombobulated person.
But I can frost a fucking cake. So I guess at the end of life when they hand out the awards (they’re going to do that, right?) I can look forward to Can Frost A Fucking Cake and Kind Of Always Writes Like She Has A Head Cold. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.
For the cake:
2 c cake flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup grade A maple syrup (I used grade B)
2/3 c milk room temp
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, room temp
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease/line two six inch cake pans.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Combine the maple syrup and milk in another small bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Add the wet and dry ingredients in two parts each, beginning with the dry. Alternate and scrape the bowl between each addition. Pour into prepared pans and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. (Mine took substantially longer than 25 minutes–closer to 30)
For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup maple syrup
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Place the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Slice open the vanilla bean & scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the empty pod to the melting butter and stir. Brown the butter over medium heat (should take about 5 minutes). Add the syrup and swirl. Once the foaming has subsided, stir briskly & pour into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer & beat until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar (start off with less than the full amount–you can always add more) and mix on low until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and then beat on high until light and fluffy. Add the maple-butter liquid and beat on high for a few minutes more. Now frost that fuckin cake!