This maple spice cake is loaded with warm spices and a full cup of maple syrup. It’s topped with a beautiful maple buttercream and some salted caramel sauce!
My skating friend S gifted me with another large jar of maple syrup. One of her friends owns a bunch of maple trees, and they tap the trees for the syrup and give them to friends and family. Unfortunately for us, it’s not available for purchase. The only way to get a hold of this beautiful syrup is by knowing someone. Thankfully for me, I know someone!
When S gave me this second jar of maple syrup, I knew that I had to do it justice. I wanted to feature it in a maple cake and make sure that the maple flavor stood out and shone as the star. This maple cake is it. It features a soft, fluffy cake (that isn’t dry!) and is loaded with a lot of the classical gingerbread spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger.
The buttercream frosting was very unusual and used a new technique for me. I cooked up a thick pudding-like custard and let it cool down. Once it came to room temperature, I mixed it with some butter and that was it! I was surprised that it didn’t require any powdered sugar or other thickener (other than the flour in the custard). I guess that makes sense since the maple syrup is already sweet and doesn’t require more powdered sugar…
To top off the cake, I made a salted caramel and poured it over the top. The recipe below makes way more than you need, so you can save the remaining caramel for another day or just eat it straight with a spoon.
My family and I all enjoyed this cake, as did my skating friends who received some samples. I will make sure to give some cake to my friend S who was generous to give me some syrup for the cake!
Husband’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
Maple spice cake
Maple spice cake
- 2 and ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup (1 stick or 8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup vegetable oil I used canola
- 1 cup pure maple syrup do NOT use fake syrup
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ¾ cup sour cream room temperature
- ½ cup milk of choice room temperature
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup milk of choice
- 1 and ¼ cup (2 and ½ sticks or 20 Tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teasoiib vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Salted caramel sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup (½ stick or 4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup heavy cream room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ to 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Bake the cake
- Preheat your oven to 350℉. Generously grease and line three 8" round baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer to low and slowly drizzle in the oil and the maple syrup and mix for another 1-2 minutes. Your batter may appear to have separated, but that is expected. Do not fret.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each one. The batter will appear to come back together.
- Add the sour cream and mix until it is fully incorporated.
- Keeping the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients. Then add the milk and the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until everything comes together and there are no lumps.
- Evenly distribute the batter into your prepared pans and bake in your preheated oven for about 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting. You may want to run a butter knife around the perimeter to prevent it from sticking during the cooling process (you can even flip it onto a wire cooling rack to allow it cool completely).
Make the maple buttercream
- First, you will make a custard and let it cool down. In a small saucepan (do not turn on the heat yet!), mix together the brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the maple syrup and the milk and mix well.
- Turn the heat to medium and keep stirring until the mixture starts to thicken into a custard-like consistency. Keep stirring for another minute.
- Take the custard off the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature before you move on to the next step.
- Once the custard has cooled completely, place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer). Cream it on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Add the custard in several increments and mix thoroughly.
- Add the vanilla and mix well. Set aside.
Make the salted caramel sauce
- In a small saucepan (do not turn on the heat yet), mix together the sugar and water and mix with a spatula.
- Turn the heat to medium and allow the mixer to come to a boil. DO NOT MIX WITH YOUR SPATULA. You can swirl the pan, but do not put the spatula into the sugar water mixture.
- Keep cooking (and keep an eye on it!) until the mixture turns a deep amber color. Take the saucepan off the stove and add in the heavy cream. It will pop and sizzle. Then add the butter and vanilla. Mix well.
- If the caramel seizes and hardens, put the saucepan back on the stove with the residual heat to melt it down again. Add the salt an mix well.
- Allow the caramel to cool down before using; otherwise, the hot caramel will melt your buttercream. You can also chill this in the refrigerator briefly while you build your cake.
Assemble the cake
- Place one of the cooled cake layers, flat side down, on a cake plate or serving platter.
- Add about ½ cup of frosting on top and smooth it out. Add another cake layer, flat side UP. Gently press down on the top cake layer.
- Add another ½ cup of frosting and smooth out the top. Add the final layer of cake, flat side UP and gently press down on top.
- Add a think crumb coat of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Place it in the refrigerator to set, about 20-30 minutes.
- Frost the top and sides with the remaining buttercream. At this point, I'd recommend you chill the cake again in the refrigerator for another 20-30 minutes.
- Pour the caramel on top of the buttercream. Pour it directly in the center of the cake and gently spread it out towards the edges, allowing the caramel to drip down. If you chill your caramel, it won't be as drippy like mine (my caramel dripped all the way down to my cake stand).
- Place the finished cake back in the refrigerator to allow the caramel to set. Serve and enjoy!