Sunday, November 6, 2011

Maple Molasses Spice Cake

Maple Molasses Spice Cake, with homemade maple syrup.
Around this time last year, I found a recipe book at a swap meet that contained recipes with instructions like “bake in a medium oven until done.” I love these kinds of books, and they’re even more fun when you cook with friends. Since I’m still making friends in Los Angeles, I reached out to my blogger network to see who would be interested in “swapping” recipes from the book, starting with Lindsay of Rosemarried. We have since then grown to almost 30 accomplished bloggers who participate every month, creating their own recipes out of a vintage one I release every month. Today is our one year anniversary of the swap, so please check out all of our posts below and wish a Happy Birthday to us!

It wouldn’t be a “birthday” post without a look back across the last year.  Lindsay and my first posts were to remake a Persimmon Pudding. I was working out of a kitchen I had been in for two days, meaning I didn’t yet understand the oven’s hot spots or know where anything was. Worse, (for me) it was raining that day and the light to photograph was not ideal. It made me wonder if the thought was a good idea at all.
The Sand Hills of Nebraska.
This year, I’m writing this post from the passenger seat on a road trip. I flew back to New York from Los Angeles to pick up my loving compadre after a project, and we decided to make a lazy ten-day trip out of it, visiting friends and family along the way. For this post, my laptop is in its rightful spot, the Sand Hills of Nebraska whizzing by outside. I recreated this recipe in my aunt-in-law’s kitchen in a suburb of Chicago, and my mother-in-law had to race me to the store at 7:30am for a lemon so I could photograph the cake. She brought me maple syrup for the occasion that a friend of hers made this season. (I've never worked with homemade maple syrup before!) In a way, it feels as ramshackle as the first Recipe Swap post. The difference is, I’m now comfortable with the process of the monthly posts, and the journeys they take me on. Not all the photos are spectacular. Not all the recipes are perfect. But, they are, and we are sharing our discoveries and progress with each other.
Breakfast along the way, Detroit, Michigan.
Leaves at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois.

Thank you all for reading and supporting the recipe swap. More importantly, thank you for giving us all reasons to keep writing, photographing and posting about food.
Late harvest, backyard, Detroit, Michigan.

This month, we’re remaking, what else, a cake, to celebrate!  The original recipe was Maple Syrup Cake. My take on it is a Maple-molasses spice cake with lemon whipped cream. Light and easy. 
Bar at the old library, Burwell, Nebraska, my favorite place in the world.

Please be sure to take the time to visit everyone’s posts below, and Happy Birthday to us!!
Maple Molasses Spice Cake
Burwell General Store

Serves: 8

Stand Mixer
9"x 9" baking pan

Dries, whisked together in bowl:
1 3/4 cups white flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 tsp espresso powder or finely ground coffee
1/4 tsp salt

In stand mixer:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature

Wets, mixed together in bowl:
3/4 cup grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375F.
In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and slowly incorporate. Add 1/3 of the dries, then alternate with 1/3 of the wets, and slowly incorporate until everything is combined.  Pour into greased baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the middle when pressed will spring back. Remove from oven and let cool. Whip cream into stiff peaks, adding a touch of maple syrup. Top with lemon zest, and serve to loved ones.


  1. Aw, homemade maple syrup sounds INCREDIBLE to get to use for this. And what a lovely adventure, posting while on a road trip. I hope your little break has been as delicious as this cake looks. Thank you for starting this swap - it's a little community that I love being a part of and look forward to every month. And what a brilliant idea to put lemon zest on top - I'd never think of that with something molasses-y and can imagine it's a perfect contrast. Booking that in my head, thx!

  2. What a difference a year makes, eh? Part of me thinks that so much has changed, but like you said...some of it feels just as ramshackle as the first post. I love that we've been doing this for a year, and here's to another year of swapping! Enjoy your cross country trip....looks amazing.

  3. thanks so much for organizing the swap and allowing me to be a part of it! I love it! this cake looks divine!

  4. Your 'group effort' to make your recipe bears perfect symbolism to our effort: 'it takes a village'. Unbelievable we've been at this a year (11 months for me). So much has changed and this has facilitated alot of growth for me. I'm grateful to you for so many things. The most recent of which is taunting me with your Santa Fe travel tweets that are making me plan my next weekend jaunt down there soon! May you be soaking in a 10,000 Waves pool and not checking this from your iPhone my friend. Thank you.

  5. Thanks do go to you Christianna for being the instigator (or is that muse) for all of this. I've always enjoyed putting my own spin on dishes but enjoy the camaraderie of seeing fellow participants and what everyone does. Hope you are having a restful trip. I stood by I-25 for awhile today with my thumb out but you must have missed me. :)

  6. Here's another heartfelt thank you for starting this recipe swap for us all to share!
    Your pictures are beautiful, as always. I love traveling across the country as I scroll down the page! I'm so glad you put both maple syrup and molasses in your cake since it's something I was thinking about but was too chicken to try!

  7. Thank you so much for welcoming me into this group, I have had so much fun scheeming this maiden post of mine but had no idea how great it would be to watch all of these posts go up and to feel part of a great blogging community! Your spiced cake sounds like the perfect afternoon treat to me!

  8. Another beautiful swap and great recipes coming from all. Thanks for organizing this Christianna, it really makes blogging much more fun!

  9. Love all your photos and stories along your journey across the country. Thank you so much for creating our swap group. It is an honor to be a part of the group! And your lemon whipped cream on the cake looks divine!

  10. Thank you for all that you have done to bring us together. I am so fortunate to know you, to call you my friend, and to have hugged ans squeezed you for a whole weekend this year. Your cake is beautiful and so are you, my friend. Lots and lots of love to one of my favorite people!

  11. I was a chaperone at my daughter's field trip when they visited a maple syrup manufacturer in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. The experience made me fall in love with it, and I can relive its taste again again. You are fortunate! And you made me homesick with your mentions of Detroit, Michigan - it was my first harbor when I arrived to the U.S. as a married woman:)
    Thank you, Christianna, for giving us a wonderful place to post our thoughts, photos, and concoctions! Happy birthday to the Recipe Swap!
    We are moving to LA from OC in a month or so, and I would love to hang out with you (especially now that I contracted the hiking bug from my friends in Serbia - not so much the rollerskating one, though:)

  12. Oh wow, homemade maple syrup sounds amazing. I would have never thought to pair something light and fresh like lemon with spices and maple, but now I'm totally curious!

  13. This will be the PERFECT day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast accompaniment to take to Wisconsin this year. Thanks!

  14. Mmmm, maple cake! How warm and seasonal-- like a sweater for your kitchen. Looks divine!

  15. Oh! I just happened upon your gorgeous blog and this great idea. As an avid recipe book collector (especially those "Women's Institute" ones) I would love to get in on the party next month :-)

  16. Hehe, bake in a medium oven. Sounds like most of my mom's Russian recipes. So many things are just hilarious. The spice cake look lovely.

  17. First of all thank you so much for welcoming me into the group. I am so excited to be here and meet everyone and share these amazing recipes and ideas. Secondly congrats on a year of awesomeness! And thirdly have a blast on your trip. Live life fully, you'll never have any regrets that way! And last this recipe is incredible.

  18. Thank you for putting this fun group together and for thinking of me to be a part of it. Your cake looks fantastic!! I love all of these photos. Happy Anniversary to the Vintage Recipe Swap group:)xx

  19. Thank you Christianna for starting this Recipe Swap. I so wish I could have been part of it but with all the traveling, it just wasn't possible. But I am so glad you did not let that come in between the Birthday Swap! The cake looks really inviting. Looking forward for everyone's take for this month's swap!


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