Soft, crumbly and warming. With delicate Canadian maple syrup, raisins and packed full of crushed hearty walnuts, this is my favourite autumnal cake. Walnut is quite a delicate flavour, so I was careful not to over-do the syrup and let the earthy, nut and sponge flavour come through with a hint of maple.
One thing though, walnuts are crazy expensive, anyone find that? I made this because my mum was a little concerned the walnuts weren’t as ‘crisp’ as they used to be and needed using up but good alternatives include pecans, hazelnuts, brazils, macadamias, anything that you can find to save some pennies. Those with a milder flavour such as macadamias could be enhanced by dry toasting for a few minutes in a pan.
For the sponges:
- 225g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g walnuts, finely chopped
- 75g raisins
- 225g stork margarine, plus extra for greasing
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tbsp Canadian maple syrup
For the filling:
- 80g butter, softened
- 150g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp Canadian maple syrup
- Walnut pieces and raisins
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan. then grease and line 2 8-inch round sandwich tins and set aside.
Get out 2 mixing bowls. In the first, combine the flour, baking powder and chopped walnuts and in the second, use an electric mixer to cream the butter, maple syrup and sugar together until lovely and pale and fluffy.
Next, I leave the mixer on the lowest possible setting and add one egg, then two tablespoons of the flour, another egg etc. until the eggs are gone. Add the last of the flour mixture, quickly followed by the raisins.
Divide the mixture between the prepped tins and bake for ~30 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
***Insert obligatory “I’m going to eat all the batter selfie”***
Finally for the rich buttercream, combine the butter, maple syrup and half the icing sugar in a large bowl and beat very slowly to incorporate the icing sugar. Once smooth add the remaining icing sugar and beat vigorously! If it’s a little too thick, add some milk or extra syrup to your taste.
Spread half of the buttercream over each of the cooled sponges and place the second sponge on top. Decorate and enjoy!