by Ellen Easton
October is the time of year when the air cool’s down and the leaves turn to vibrant colors. In a few steps one can bring nature’s autumnal beauty to your table. The maple theme can be incorporated into cakes, glazes, cookies, scones, piecrusts and tea sandwiches.
According to Wikipedia, “Maple sugar was the preferred form of maple by First Nations/American Indian peoples as the sugar could easily be transported and lasted a long time. It is called ziinzibaakwad by the Anishinaabeg, Blessing of the Bay, the second ocean-going merchant ship built in the English colonies, carried maple sugar from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to New Amsterdam as early as 1631. French awareness of the process is indicated in at least one engraver’s works, those of the mid-18th-century artist Jean-Francois Turpin, the engraver Bernard (including several for Diderot’s 1755 Encyclopedie.) and others.
Three species of maple trees are predominantly used to produce maple sugar: the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), the black maple (A. nigrum), and the red maple (A. rubrum), because of the high sugar content (roughly two to five percent) in the sap of these species. The black maple is included as a subspecies or variety in a more broadly viewed concept of A. saccharum, the sugar maple, by some botanists. Of these, the red maple has a shorter season because it buds earlier than sugar and black maples, which alters the flavour of the sap.
A few other (but not all) species of maple (Acer) are also sometimes used as sources of sap for producing maple sugar, including the box elder or Manitoba maple (Acer negundo), the silver maple (A. saccharinum), and the big leaf maple (A. macrophyllum). Similar sugars may also be produced from birch or palm trees, among other sources.”
Recipe Adapted from Nordic-Ware by Ellen Easton
For Baking Pan
Pam™ Baking Spray; Domino Brownulated or White Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup whole milk or nonfat Lactaid milk; 1 ½ tsp. maple extract; ½ tsp. Vanilla extract; 2/3 cup unsalted butter; 2/3 cup granulated sugar; 3 large eggs; 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour; 1 ¼ tsp. baking powder; 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Glaze and Preparation
- Cup confectioners sugar; ½ cup brown sugar; ¼ cup maple syrup; 2 TBS water. Place all ingredients and mix together until completely blended. Add water one TBS at a time to thin the mixture. Add more water as needed to reach a consistency that will pour when spooned over the cake. If too thick add more water. If too thin add more sugar to taste. Set the bowl aside until ready to glaze the cake.
Recipe notes: For an enhanced flavor, when available, use Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract, fresh baking powder to help insure cake rises and sift the flour before measuring. This recipe can be baked in any shape pan by adding batter only to the half way mark of the pan; then adjust cooking time accordingly.
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using PAM™ Baking Spray or other vegetable oil, completely coat the inside of the baking pan. Dust the inside of the pan bottom and all sides with DOMINO Brownulated sugar or white granulated sugar. Tap out any extra sugar to leave a light coating, set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the milk and extracts, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, on a medium to high speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy- approximately three minutes, stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat for three more minutes.
Reduce the speed to low and add the remaining ingredients. Beat until just blended, scraping the bowl as needed. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. If using a small leaf pan, divide the batter into the cavities to the half way mark. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to press the batter into the crevices of the mold and smooth the tops. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Bake approximately twenty minutes or until a toothpick when inserted into the center of the batter and removed comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to allow the cake to cool down for fifteen minutes. Invert onto a wire rack placed over a large bowl or glass -baking dish. Brush or spoon over with maple syrup while the cake is still warm but not hot. Yields 12 small cakelets/ cupcakes or one large bundt cake.
Maple Leaf Cookie Cutters
Cut out dough, breads and even cranberry jelly to dress up your seasonal table. Use preserves to color cream cheese, top with fig or marmalade to bring in colors to your afternoon tea. Not inclined to make your own piecrust? No problem. Simply purchase a store bought crust. Bring to room temperature and use a cookie cutter to shape the dough. Then place on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper and bake according to instructions on the package until golden brown.
Maple Leaf Edible Decorating Wafer
Everyone is not a handy pastry chef. However, it is easy to decorate foods using a few easy steps. Edible wafer decorations have no flavor. They are gossamer thin as to not interfere with the foods on which they sit. Follow the directions on the package or very lightly dampen the back as to not dissolve the decoration, then apply to create your own design on any dry surface foods- cookies, piecrusts, cakes, scones, biscuits or breads.
Piecrust/ Stew Toppers with Edible Wafer Maple Leaves
Text and Photos ©Ellen Easton
Links to Products
Maple Leaf Nordic Ware Baking Pan
Autumn Delights Cakelet Pan
Autumn Cookie Cutter Set
Edible Wafer Autumn Maple Leaves
Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions(RED WAGON PRESS), an afternoon tea authority, lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included the Waldorf=Astoria, the Plaza and Bergdorf Goodman. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.