*This cake ticks all the boxes. For starters it is easy to make. It's also a pound cake but with much, much less than the traditional pound of butter in it. Then the spices and gorgeous texture draw you in. It's a cake that keeps well and suits lunchboxes too. Perhaps you can see why I call it the box ticker! *
I heard a guffaw from the other room the other day. It was the usual situation in the evening. I was in the study working and Mr NQN was sitting on the lounge with his laptop in his lap. He forwarded me an article on dating apps. He knows exactly how much I love playing with my friends' Tinder accounts!
The article said that men are 98% more likely than women to respond to assertive, invitational messages. Women, on the other hand, are 40% more likely to respond to food related opening lines.
I couldn't have put it better myself really.
If you give me food, I will follow and it was quite heartening to know that it wasn't just me and my friends that felt this way. Take this maple spice cake that Laura put up on her blog. As soon as I saw it, it was lust at first sight. There was something about the texture of the cake that delighted and excited me. And better still I had everything in my pantry so a couple of days afterwards I baked it.
The cake texture is dense yet light and moist (if that makes any sense) and it is very easy to do. Laura calls it a pound cake which is traditionally a pound of butter, sugar and flour but the great thing about this is that it isn't actually heavy in butter or sugar if you are trying to eat a bit lighter. The whole uniced loaf has just 1/4 cup of butter in it.
That's why I call it the box ticker. It's easy, lower in fat and absolutely delicious. Okay with the icing it's not low in sugar but let's leave some joy in life ;) You can of course leave this uniced and it is wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee because of all of those lovely spices. But I have a serious icing fetish and often for me, cakes are just a vehicle for icing!
So tell me Dear Reader, what do you think of that study's findings? Are you more likely to respond to food related opening lines? Do you have an icing fetish or do you prefer your cakes uniced?
Maple Spice Pound Cake
Adapted from Tutti Dolci
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 1.5 cups cake flour*
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup/60g butter, softened
- 1/4 cup caster or superfine sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup buttermilk or natural yogurt
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons milk (optional)
*To make 1.5 cups of cake flour, add 3 tablespoons of cornflour/cornstarch to a measuring jug. Top with plain all purpose flour. Whisk the combine.
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a loaf tin on the base and sides. Whisk the flour and the salt and all of the spices together until well combined.
Step 2 - Beat the butter, sugar and maple syrup together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Gently add the flour in two lots alternating with the buttermilk or yogurt until just combined. Scoop into the prepared tin and tap the tin against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove from tin and place on cooling rack to cool completely.
Step 3 - Whisk the butter, maple and salt together. Add this to the icing sugar. Use milk if necessary to get a spreadable consistency. Using an offset spatula, spread it over the cooled cake.