Maple Syrup Cake for the Weekly Bake Off (aka Icing Hides Many Things)

I'm really pleased to have discovered the Weekly Bake Off, (thanks to the morethanoccasionalbaker), and which is organised by Amy from the Great British Baking Club.

It's based on the challenge of baking every one of the 100 recipes in 'Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes'. I think it's a great way of expanding your repetoire and trying something new! This week, the bake off recipe is the Maple Syrup Cake, and I decided to have a go. Sadly, there will be no star baker badge for me this week. If there was a badge for funniest bake though ...

I'll be upfront about this. It has been a disaster. It was going well up until putting the cake in the oven. The batter tasted really nice (yes, spoon licking does take place in this household). The cake looked lovely and level in the pan, so into the oven it went.

The recipe says to bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. That was where my first niggling thought occurred 'That's a pretty wide parameter!'. Having been caught in the past overbaking cakes, I decided I would check after one hour, so the timer was set. As soon as I opened the oven door I could see a dent in the middle. I closed the oven door but the damage was done. Despite trying to salvage the situation and baking for 15 minutes longer, the dent was fast becoming a hole in the middle of the cake.

'That's not good' I thought, closely followed by 'I wonder what it'll taste like' (fantastic actually). I waited for the cake to cool down and then cut into the three layers stipulated in the recipe. This shows the extent of the problem.

The top two layers resemble polos, and while the botom layer has remained intact, it's only because it is glued together by underdone cake. The outside is crispy and seems a little overdone. One thing is clear, this is not a dainty cake.

I've been wracking my brains to think what's gone wrong. Including:

  • The recipe I used was from Baking Bible, but it is the same as the one in 100 Cakes and Bakes (I just checked);
  • I did follow the recipe;
  • I don't think I overmixed everything;
  • All my ingredients were fresh and well before their use by date including the baking powder;
  • I did however use Lurpak spread (according to Mary she uses butter but if you use spread to make sure it is over 59% fat - it was);
  • My oven was at the right temperature (I used a thermometer to check);
  • I placed the cake in the middle of the oven - as I have a fan oven could this have affected it somehow?;
  • The cake tin was the right size but it was dark in colour - according to Rose Levy Berenbaum (US baking guru and author of another cake bible) I should have reduced the oven temp by 15 degrees to compensate - could that be it?;
  • Is it right to add two teaspoons of baking powder to self-raising flour (and 350g?), as the recipe calls for? Not sure about this one. It seems like a lot to me, and there was clearly a massive air buble created in the middle of the cake by something. Still it is a Mary Berry recipe.
In short I have no idea what went wrong. I wasn't sure whether to go ahead and ice it or not, but it is true that icing covers a multitude of sins (I also managed to overwhip the cream so that it firmed up a bit and filled the hole!).

Anyway, in case you are interested, here is the recipe.


225g softened butter
225g light muscovado sugar
zest of one orange
4 large eggs
100ml maple syrup
350g self raising flour
2 level tspn baking powder
1/2 level tspn ground ginger
50g pecan nuts, chopped

For the filling and topping:

450ml pouring double cream
2tbspn maple syrup
zest of one orange in strips, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 140 fan / 160 conventional / gas 3

For the cake, you basically measure everything except the pecans into a bowl and mix well. Then fold in the chopped nuts.

Add the mixture to a greased and base lined 20cm deep cake tin. Bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until well risen, golden and springy to the touch.

Allow to cool slightly, then turn out on rack to completely cool. Cut into three layers.

Whip the cream until it just holds its shape and then fold in the maple syrup. Fill and cover the cake over the top and sides. Use the orange zest strips to decorate.

At least the hole meant lots of cream!

It's a shame this didn't turn out so well, but it still tasted really good. At least my little helper thought it/my reaction was funny ...

I'm looking forward to seeing how the other bakers got on on this one. Ah well, roll on next week!



  1. So pleased you joined in and thank for the mention :) Its a shame the cake didn't turn out. I have to admit I "cheated" by using 3 cake tins as I couldnt be bothered to slice it into 3. I'm not sure what went wrong either as its usually if the oven is too hot or too much baking powder. I've noticed that Mary Berry likes adding baking powder to self-raising flour. I ended up with a super giant cake!! Look forward to this week's entry (I don't think I'll be making one)

    1. Thanks, your bake looked really great though! I don't know why Mary Berry went for the deep tin - I would have thought using three can give you better control (I suppose as long as you manage to evenly distribute the mix). Maybe it was just one of those things, as the recipe clearly does work looking at some of the other wonderful bakes. Ah well. I am hoping to have a bash at this week's as I've never done a flourless cake, so that'll be new.

  2. Oh my goodness, your little one is adorable! :) I just found your blog and absolutely love it!

  3. Thank you, glad you like it! So glad you found my blog, as it gave me the opportuity to find yours! I have had a look and it's fantastic! I'm looking forward to reading more posts :-) x

  4. My cake turned out exactly the same as yours! I just made it today for the first time. I don't have a fan oven and I have a dark baking tin but I've never heard of lowing the oven temp to compensate for that. I use that same tin to bake Delia's Lemon Drizzle cake and it turns out perfectly each time. I'm thinking it's this maple pecan recipe, not us!

    1. Thanks for your comment - and although I'm grateful it's not just me, I feel your pain! I think with the additional baking experience I've now got, there is no way I would make this cake again and use 2 teaspoons of baking powder in addition to self raising flour - it's just too much. I don't think it's the colour of the tin (I've used mine for so many more cakes now that I know it's ok). If I did make this again, then the first things I'd try to rectify it would be to either split the mixture between two or three tins, and just use 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. If it's the one tin I'd bake for 45 mins -1 hour. If divided between 2 - 3 tins then I'd try 25-30 mins. But that's if I'd try it again. :-)


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