This is the cake that emblematically scratches that Domestic Goddess itch: it’s feelgood food (for cook and eater) by way of some simple stirring. The nutty syrupy filling is simply forked into being; you could make the cake batter with no more equipment than a bowl and a wooden spoon. But I’m afraid even my alter ego, the Domestic Goddess, is lazy, so I use an electric mixer. But beware the processor here: it’s easy to overmix as you blitz, and while a dense sponge is good, a rubbery one – clearly – is not.
Not only do I love making this cake, but I get a rare feeling of calm contentment just seeing it on its stand on the kitchen surface. Then there’s the eating of it, a greedy slice alongside a mid-afternoon mug of coffee, which produces nothing less than a surge of body-and-soul-bolstering joy. Now, this is what a weekend is for...
- 75g plain flour
- 30g soft unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 150g pecans (or walnuts), roughly chopped
- 125ml maple syrup
- 300g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 125g soft unsalted butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 250ml crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1–2 teaspoons icing sugar, for decoration
- Flavourless oil, for greasing
- 1 x 23cm bundt tin
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Using flavourless oil (or a squirt of cooking spray) grease your bundt tin, and leave upside down on newspaper for the excess oil to drain out.
2 Make the filling for the cake by mixing together the 75g flour and 30g butter with a fork, till you end up with the sort of mixture you’d expect when making crumble topping. Then, still using the fork, mix in the cinnamon, chopped pecans (or walnuts) and maple syrup, to form a sticky, bumpy paste. Set aside for a moment.
3 For the cake, measure the 300g flour, the baking powder and bicarb into a bowl.
4 Now, cream the butter and sugar (i.e. beat well together until light in texture and pale in colour), then beat in 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture, then 1 egg, then another tablespoonful of flour mixture followed by the second egg.
5 Add the rest of the flour mixture beating as you go, and then finally the crème fraîche or sour cream. You should expect to end up with a fairly firm cake batter.
6 Spoon just more than half the cake batter into the oiled bundt tin. Spread the mixture up the sides a little and around the funnel of the tin to create a rim. You don’t want the sticky filling to leak out to the sides of the tin.
7 Dollop the maple filling carefully into the dent in the cake batter, then cover the filling with the remaining batter. Smooth the top and put the tin into the oven for 40 minutes, though it’s best to check with a cake tester after 30 minutes.
8 Once cooked, and the cake tester comes out clean where it hits the sponge (obviously, any gooey filling will stick to the tester), let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes in its tin, then loosen the edges with a small spatula, including around the middle funnel bit, and turn the cake out onto the rack.
9 When the cake is cold, dust with icing sugar by pushing a teaspoonful or so through a tea strainer.
Make ahead note
Can be baked up to 2 days ahead. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and store in airtight container. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
The cake can be frozen, tightly wrapped in double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight at room temperature and dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Makes 12 slices.
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Excerpted from Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson Copyright © 2010 by Nigella Lawson. Photo Copyright © 2010 by Lis Parsons. Excerpted by permission of Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved.