Maple-Pecan Layer Cake With Gingerbread Frosting

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    14–18

    servings

Appears in

For every holiday dinner, the task of creating one show-stopping grand finale of a dessert falls on me, and it seems as though the cakes get bigger and taller with each passing year. This is one behemoth of a baked good that is guaranteed to draw oohs and ahs from any crowd: three layers of maple cake studded with copious amounts of toasted pecans, smothered in a spicy gingerbread frosting and crowned with even more pecans. Definitely a luxurious number that only comes out once a year at most, it’s a dessert that you’re sure to remember better (and more fondly) than that itchy sweater you got from Aunt Sally.

Ingredients

Maple-Pecan Cake

  • 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Almond Meal
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • ¾ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Cup Canola Oil
  • Cups Plain Non-Dairy Milk
  • Cups Maple Syrup
  • ½ Cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Cups Chopped Pecans, Toasted

Gingerbread Frosting

  • Cups Non-Dairy Margarine
  • Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Molasses
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • Teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground All Spice
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1–3 Tablespoons Plain Non-Dairy Milk
  • ⅓–⅔ Cup Chopped Pecans, Toasted
  • Whole Pecans, For Decoration (Optional)

Method

Preheat your oven to 350ºF; lightly grease and flour either three 8-inch round or two 9-inch round cake pans.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt, making sure that all of the dry goods are evenly distributed throughout the mix. Set aside.

Separately, mix together the nondairy milk, maple syrup, apple sauce, vinegar, and vanilla. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes so that the “milk” just begins to curdle. Don’t worry if you don’t see any dramatic changes though.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry, followed by the pecan pieces. Use a large spatula to bring the two together, stirring just enough to create a smooth batter. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans and tap them each a few times on the counter to smooth out the tops and knock out air bubbles.

Bake the cake rounds for 25–30 minutes, until lightly browned all over and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean and dry. Let cool completely before turning the cake layers out of the pans and frosting.

When you’re ready to make the frosting, begin by placing the margarine in your stand mixer, and beat briefly with the whisk attachment just to soften. Add in the sugar, molasses, vanilla, all of the spices, and 1 tablespoon of the soymilk. Start the mixer back up on the lowest speed setting so that the sugar doesn’t splatter out onto the kitchen walls. Once mostly incorporated, pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then turn it up to high. If it seems too thick and dry, add more “milk,” 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. Whip for a full 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

To assemble the cake, spread a healthy dollop of frosting on the bottom cake layer, and once smoothed out evenly, sprinkle with -Cup chopped pecans. Repeat with the following layer if using three, and then cover the whole tower with more frosting. Decorate with a border of whole pecans around the top, if desired.

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