I had tea with with a well mannered hedgehog once on a crisp fall day. He brought me a tiny bouquet of flowers, which I placed in a small jam jar filled with water. He said the delightful maple scent of these Madeleines reminded him of his time in the woods, as a young hoglet. When he had his fill of the delicate little cakes, I wrapped some in a tea towel for his journey home.
As cooler weather approaches, I’m always looking for a little something to enjoy with a warm drink and a good book. Although traditional Madeleines typically remind me of spring, these Maple Brown Sugar Madeleines have a cozy fall feeling. They go well with coffee, tea or hot cocoa. If you want to make them for a friend, make the batter and keep it in the refrigerator. Bake the Madeleines right before your friend arrives.
I used a spherical Madeleine pan to make these maple scented little cakes. The Madeleines made in this pan are a little thicker and fluffier than those made in a traditional oval pan. To find the Madeleine pan I used, click here. You can certainly use a traditional pan if you prefer. Keep in mind that the baking time will be shorter and you will end up with about twice as many.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar and maple extract, on high speed with an electric mixer, until batter is voluminous, light in color and holds its shape when you lift the beater, about 8-10 minutes.
Combine melted butter and maple syrup.
Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the melted butter. Fold just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all flour is combined.
Cover and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a spherical Madeleine pan* with nonstick spray or melted butter. Dust the pan with a light coating of flour. Tap out the excess flour.
Fill the wells of the Madeleine pan with batter 3/4 full, about 2 tablespoons each, using a scoop**, a spoon or a piping bag. If you're using a traditional oval Madeleine pan, fill 3/4 full, about a generous tablespoon of batter in each.
Bake until golden brown around the edges and puffed in the center, about 10-12 minutes. Baking time for oval Madeleine pan will be about 7-8 minutes. Do not over bake.
Cool in pan for one minute then turn Madeleines out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Top with maple icing and nuts.
In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, maple extract and one tablespoon of milk. Add additional milk as needed. Stir in a pinch of salt to taste.
Brush icing onto Madeleines with a pastry brush. Apply nuts to the edges of Madeleines. Serve immediately. Madeleines are best served the day they're baked.
If you love chocolate cake, this is the post for you! Chocolate cake is one of the best comfort foods there is. I’ve tasted many over the years, but my all time favorite was one I had growing up. I’ve spent years trying to duplicate the moist, nostalgic cake from my childhood. I noticed that nearly every chocolate cake recipe on the internet is a variation of the century-old recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa tin. I think many people have passed it down as a family recipe, each grandmother adding her own personal touch. Even some celebrity chefs have claimed it as their own. It’s an easy, delicious, moist recipe and its popularity is well deserved. You can tweak the flavor additions a bit to make it your own too. It’s a recipe that’s hard to mess up.
The recipe I’m sharing here is my version of the vintage original, adapted over time by my family. I like to use dark cocoa powder in this recipe, which makes a rich, dark chocolate cake, but you can use your favorite cocoa powder if you prefer. The chocolate frosting recipe is one that I developed, mostly because I couldn’t find a chocolate frosting recipe that didn’t taste gritty and/or look speckled from the cocoa powder. Swiss meringue buttercream with melted chocolate added is one alternative, but, while it is smooth, silky and perfect for piping, it’s missing that deep chocolate richness. Another option is chocolate ganache. It looks rich and creamy in those viral videos, but it’s a little too rich and overpowering to use as frosting in my opinion.
I think this frosting recipe is the one! It has the best of both worlds and it’s perfect for a classic chocolate cake. You can adjust the sweetness level by choosing which chocolate you prefer. I used bittersweet chocolate, which I think is just right. You’ll notice this frosting contains maple syrup. It gives a subtle maple note in the background, but mostly, it helps make the frosting silky and gives it shine. If you’re a food blogger and you’re reading this, I had to eat a ton of chocolate frosting to get this recipe right, so please give credit if you’re inspired by my frosting. Thanks!<3
Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the bottoms of two 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the insides and dust with a mixture of equal parts flour and cocoa powder. Wrap the cake pans with damp cake strips if you have them.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and stir util well combined.
Combine the egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk lightly to combine.
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed with an electric mixer, until combined. Stop the mixer. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 30 seconds.
Add hot coffee and stir until well combined.
Pour batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing batter evenly between the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 25-28 minutes without cake strips or about 28-32 minutes with cake strips.
Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes then remove the cakes from the pans and transfer to a cooling rack.
Trim the cake layers to your desired thickness, from 1-inch to 1 1/2-inches thick. Fill and frost with chocolate frosting.
In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the maple syrup, water, cocoa powder and espresso powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth with an electric mixer
Gradually add the cooled maple syrup mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
Stir in melted chocolate until well combined. Smooth out any bubbles by stirring gently with a rubber spatula.
*For smoothest results, use chopped bar chocolate and make sure chocolate is completely melted. Do not use chocolate chips. Chocolate chips do not melt completely and will make your frosting lumpy.
Pecan pie was my mom’s favorite, but she didn’t bake pies, so I always used to bake her one for Thanksgiving. One year, I made a chocolate version. It was delicious, but let’s just say it wasn’t user friendly. It was gooey and hard to serve. Over the years, it eventually morphed into these Maple Pecan Brownies. The brownie version is still delicious, rich and gooey with toasty pecans, but much more user friendly.
Enjoying Maple Pecan Brownies with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee is a must. Thinking of it brings back memories. I can practically smell my dad brewing the coffee to go with these brownies.
Maple Pecan Brownies
Rich, gooey brownies topped with pecan pie filling
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping the sides an inch or two. Spray parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined.
Mix in eggs and vanilla, one at a time, until well combined.
Mix in cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
Stir in flour just until combined.
Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Bake just until top is set, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare pecan topping.
When brownie top is set, remove from oven. Gently pour pecan topping around the outer perimeter of brownies, to avoid making brownies sink in the middle. Evenly distribute the pecan topping over the top gently with a spoon.
Return the brownies to the oven and continue baking until the topping is set, about 20-25 minutes. Brownies will stop jiggling and topping will look deep golden brown. Toothpick inserted inside will have a few moist crumbs on it. (If your topping starts to brown too much on the edges before the inside is done, apply aluminum foil around the edges as you would with a pie.)
Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting, about 2- 2 1/2 hours.
Cut into squares, wiping knife between cuts.
In a medium bowl, stir together maple syrup, butter, brown sugar, egg, maple extract and salt until well combined.
Stir in pecans until well coated with maple syrup mixture.