Maple-Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce

In this delicious dessert, tender spice cake is layered with maple-sugar frosting, candied pecans, and a salty-sweet caramel sauce.
10 SERVINGS
October 2010

INGREDIENTS

MAPLE-COATED PECANS

  • 3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
  • Coarse kosher salt

CAKE

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger (1 1/2 to 2 ounces)
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2/3 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses

FROSTING

  • 1 1/3 cups chilled crème fraîche
  • 1 1/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Salted Maple-Caramel Sauce (click for recipe)

PREPARATION

MAPLE-COATED PECANS

  • Place large piece of foil on work surface. Combine nuts and maple syrup in heavy medium skillet (do not use nonstick) over medium-high heat and bring to boil, tossing to coat. Cook until syrup is dark amber and almost cooked away and thickly coats nuts, tossing often, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Scrape nuts onto foil. Working quickly with 2 forks, separate nuts. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Cool until coating is crisp and hard, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Pecans can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Combine first 4 ingredients in processor; add ginger. Blend until ginger is finely ground, about 1 minute. Using mixer, beat maple sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time (batter may look curdled). Stir 3/4 cup hot water and molasses in small bowl. Beat dry ingredients into butter mixture in 4 additions alternately with molasses mixture in 3 additions.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans (about 2 1/2 cups each). Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks.

FROSTING

  • Combine crème fraîche, cream, and both sugars in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until very thick and stiff.
  • Cut around pan sides to loosen cake layers; turn out onto racks. Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 1 1/3 cups frosting. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons caramel sauce. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting smoothly over top and sides of cake. Drizzle top of cake with 3 tablespoons sauce. Cover with cake dome; chill at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead; keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.
  • Cut pecans into pieces or leave whole. Press pecans into frosting on sides of cake. Cut cake into wedges. Spoon sauce over.
Loading