We started using real maple syrup for pancakes and waffles and such a while ago – or as soon as I figured out that our “pancake syrup” was really just 6 different kinds of processed sugar and coloring and didn’t actually contain any maple at all. Blech. And seriously, we couldn’t be happier. Real maple syrup is SO worth it!
Because real maple syrup doesn’t need as much refining as white sugar does, more of the trace minerals present in maple syrup are retained during the process. Which means you can get a small amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese from using maple syrup. Maple syrup is also slightly lower on the Glycemic Index than white sugar, so it doesn’t cause quite a blood sugar spike. Yes, these are trace amounts, so it’s not actually a health food, but I feel better about letting my daughters drizzle copious amounts of it on their pancakes. Err… did I say drizzle and copious? Forget I said that…. we totally stick to serving sizes…. Totally.
Recently I have been experimenting with replacing sugar in recipes with maple syrup as well, especially in my baking and I love the results. You can easily replace sugar in any recipe with maple syrup by substituting 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup maple syrup, and then reducing any other liquid content by 3 TBSP. Also note that because maple syrup is darker in color than maple syrup, anything you make with it will be slightly darker in color, and may brown quicker. If you want to find out more about the health benefits of maple syrup and how it stacks up against refined white sugar, please read this interesting article.
Guys. This. Cake. I think I could happily eat this cake for the rest of my life and be totally content. Its the perfect cake for fall (although, seriously, I would eat this all year long) – a super moist gingerbread spiced cake sweetened with a Grade A Dark maple syrup whose robust flavor really shine in this cake! Then, as if that isn’t enough, top the whole thing off with an earl grey infused whipped frosting. The frosting is the perfect marriage between a whipped cream and a traditional buttercream – its fluffy texture reminds you of whipped cream but it has some of the substance of a buttercream. It’s pretty much amazing stuff. I may or may not have eaten it by the spoonful.
If you can make this cake a day ahead, it really gives the flavors of the cake time to marry together into something super beautiful – although it is still pretty awesome the day of. The whipped cream frosting can be made the day of as well, but because of the butter in the recipe, it will harden like a traditional buttercream when stored in the fridge (which you should totally do). So make sure to give it plenty of time to warm up before serving if you want it nice and creamy to dollop on as I did in the photos. Otherwise you can spread this evenly over the whole cake like a traditional frosting. Its totally about your preference here, and equally delicious no matter how you choose to serve it.
If finding an awesomely flavorful maple syrup is totally your thing (and it should be!) then I cannot recommend the Grade B from Roxbury Mountain Maple enough. This company is family owned from New York and you can tell they pit a lot of passion and care into making sure they supply only the finest award winning maple syrup they can. You can find their products through Amazon!
In a small saucepan, boil the water and butter just until the butter melts.
Remove from heat and allow to sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, maple syrup, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, egg, sour cream, pumpkin puree and molasses.
Fold in the hot water/butter mixture. It will be runny, that's ok!
Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.
**Earl Grey Infused Whipped Frosting
Place a glass or metal mixing medium bowl and your beaters into the freezer to chill.
In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream to a simmer.
Add the tea bags, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
Remove the tea bag and allow place in the fridge until chilled.
Beat 1 1/4 of the infused heavy cream until you get stiff peaks.
In the very cold bowl and beaters, beat the butter, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of the reserved tea infused cream until smooth.
Add in the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Gently fold in the buttercream to the whipped cream.
You can choose to either frost the cake with an even layer of the whipped frosting or dollop spoonfuls onto individual servings.
Garnish with a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon, if desired.
1. Store the cake and the whipped frosting covered in the fridge.
2. You can make these a day ahead or the day of, just remember to allow the whipped frosting to come to room temperature if you want to dollop it on in a light and fluffy way. Otherwise you can evenly spread the frosting onto the top of the cake.
Want more dessert recipes sweetened with maple syrup? Check out these treats!
Jenni lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her amazing husband, two girls, two dogs who think they are children, and a feisty cat. She is the creator of The Gingered Whisk, a recipe blog dedicated to finding easy, healthy-ish, and tasty weeknight meals that kids and adults alike will love. She is super passionate about helping every member of a family learn to love great food. When not cooking, eating, or thinking about food, she is often hiking around area parks, creating intricate legos castles with her girls, watching nerdy tv with her husband, or curled up in a corner somewhere reading a good book.