I have been
dreaming thinking about maple butter ever since my friend and I, during her visit to my home and village in Suffolk over our university break, decided to tackle a recipe for the Harry Potter drink, Butterbeer. It was a pretty good success, to the point that my friend declared our version better than that sold in the Harry Potter studios in London. High praise indeed.
However, the real star of that recipe was the maple butter. Warm, maple-y, and slightly goo-ey, it was like a mix of a rich buttery sauce with a thick maple flavoured caramel. We made extra on the second go of the recipe, and simply ate it out of the saucepan with a spoon. Since it’s so dead easy to make on top of that (seriously, it’s just butter melted with a little bit of maple syrup, swirled together and slowly cooled to goo-ify and darken), I really wanted to make something, a cake or muffin or whatever, that utilised this wondrous finding.
I finally decided to go for a simple vanilla bean loaf cake, made with buttermilk, though the cake is pretty rich itself, even without the maple butter. It tastes a lot more decadent than it seems, or how it’s made since the cake itself is so buttery and moist. I suppose you could serve it with ice cream, or sour cream to tamper some of that sweetness, but I think this cake stands on its own. Makes 1 large, serves about 12.
180g of all-purpose flour
1 tsp of baking powder
small pinch of salt
120g of unsalted butter, softened
180g of sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
115ml of buttermilk
1 tsp of vanilla paste
for the maple butter:
50g of unsalted butter
4 tbsp of maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade. Grease a loaf pan with softened butter, or nonstick coating.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, use an handheld mixer or stand mixer to beat the butter until it’s pale and small wisps (or tails) form. Add teh sugar, and beat until the mixture is fluffy. Make sure to scrape the bowl’s sides every now and then.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating until blended in before adding the next. Put the mixer’s speed on low, and add a third of the flour mixture, and mix until nearly completely mixed. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until just before completely combined. Repeat the process with another third of the flour, mix, add the other half of the buttermilk, mix, and then finish with the final third of the flour mixture. Stop just before the final addition of the flour is fully mixed in, and switch to a spatula to fold in the vanilla paste into the mixture gently together , scraping both the sides of the bowl and the sides.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and bake until the cake is golden all over, and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake — about 50 to 55 minutes.
As the cake cools, add the butter and syrup to a small pan and set on low heat. Stir continuously, for about five minutes, letting it simmer gently. Take off the heat, and the butter should start to jellify somewhat, and become thicker.
Once the cake is completely cool, spoon over the maple butter. As the butter cools, it will solidify further into a sort of icing. Best served on the day of baking, maybe with a little sour cream, but will keep well for a week in an airtight container.