I want to tell you a short story about how this cake is the product of a couple epic fails. One of those happy accidents, or maybe one of those Hail Mary passes in baking where you think you are done but give it one last shot, fingers crossed. Why am I telling you this? Well in hopes of encouraging you. To let you know that even food bloggers have their fare share of kitchen disasters just like everyone else. And even though I bake all the time, and like to toot my own horn at veganizing just about any recipe I find that I want to try, sometimes I fail and fail hard. I found a beautiful fall cake in a magazine that I could not wait to turn vegan. It never even crossed mind that it could go south the way it did. Whenever adding fruit to a baked good you add moisture, and it does not always work in your favor. Long story short I ended up with three super dense, 9 inch pancakes instead of cakes. I then came to the conclusion that I would not waist any more of my time on that cake and would just make a fall inspired spice cake for the delicious looking frosting in the original cake. It called for cool whip but I was convinced I could make a butter cream that was close. I was SO wrong. Once again, certain fruits and butter cream only end in disaster. Thus the candied pecans stepped in, along with a maple butter cream, and I am not lying when I say this is now hands down my favorite cake on the website. Its fluffy with the right amount of spice, the butter cream has a hint of maple and the candied pecans are the perfect sweet and salty crunch the cake needed. This cake would work beautifully for Thanksgiving or any fall gathering. And remember, when a recipe seems like a failure, its not the end of the story. Just shake it off and keep baking. Something delicious may just come out of all the mess. Happy fall y'all !
2 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup aquafaba (whipped chickpea liquid, you are measuring out the WHIPPED aquafaba - not the liquid)
1 cup oat or almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup vegan butter
Spiced Maple Buttercream:
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves
2 teaspoons vegan butter
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons maple syrup
pinch of salt
preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare (2) 8 inch cake pans by first coating with a thin layer of vegan butter, then lightly dusting pans with flour.
Prepare the aquafaba according to instructions. (follow link to recipe and instructions)
In the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large bowl if using a hand mixer, whisk together all of your dry cake ingredients.
Add the butter, and all of the milk into the dry ingredients. Cream on medium speed for a few minutes until completely smooth. Add vanilla and mix for a few more seconds.
Evenly divide batter between the 2 prepared pans and bake cakes for 40 -45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cakes are cooking, prepare the candied pecans by heating a small skillet on medium heat. Melt the butter, next adding the pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Lower the heat a bit and continue moving the pecans around the pan with a spoon while the sugar melts, and begins to get sticky. The nuts and sugar can burn quickly, so be sure to keep the pecans moving until the sugar becomes fully melted and looks like caramel. This can take between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the pan. Once pecans are done, pour them out onto a plastic cutting board or a piece of wax paper allowing them to cool, and the sugar to harden. Once they have cooled you can break them apart and into pieces. Set the pecans aside.
Allow cakes to cool in the pans on a wire cooling rack for about 20 minutes.
While cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting by mixing together the butter and shortening in your stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer. Add in the vanilla, spices, and maple syrup. Continue mixing until well incorporated. Slowly begin beating in the powdered sugar. If the frosting seems too stiff, add a few teaspoons of milk at a time until it has reached a spreadable constancy.
Once cakes have cooled for 20 minutes, turn them out onto the cooling rack to cool completely. Once cakes are completely cooled, begin frosting by adding a layer of buttercream on one cake layer, and spreading evenly to the edges. Sprinkle half of the candied pecans evenly on the first layer. Place second cake layer on top and cover the cake with remaining buttercream and sprinkle with remaining candied pecans.
Slice to serve. Store cake in an airtight container.
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