maple cake
PHOTOGRAPH BY JASON VARNEY

Festive Maple Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon, clove, and allspice bring a note of the holidays to this dessert.

November 18, 2015

To give this airy maple cake its lift and tender crumb, mix baking soda with boiling water to make the cake batter. (Without it, you’ll get a more blondie-like dessert—still delicious, but considerably flatter).

Serves 6–8 

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2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup maple syrup
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1½ teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ pounds (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 pounds (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, mix syrup, oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Add egg and mix to combine. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture. Stir in baking soda mixture until combined. 

3. Divide batter between pans. Bake until a knife inserted into center comes out clean, 20–25 minutes. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes, then run knife around the edges of pan, turn cakes out onto wire rack, and allow to cool completely. 

4. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy, 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt; beat until combined. 

5. Place one cake layer on serving platter; spread 1½ cups frosting over top. Place second layer on top; spread remaining frosting over sides and top.