This Maple Cake is packed with pure, natural maple flavor throughout. Maple cake layers with a maple buttercream and maple streusel.
It is cold and rainy today, and I’m in heaven. We’ve gone from 35°C temps just a couple days ago down to 15°C. It’s a drastic change, but I am not complaining. It’s been a ridiculously hot summer.
So, I am welcoming Fall with open arms and kicking it off a little early with this Maple Cake!
Truthfully, it’s all I could do to restrain myself from inundating you with Fall recipes even earlier. I feel like late August is an acceptable time to start thinking about all things Fall — if you’re like me, you’ve probably been dreaming about those cool, crisp Fall days for weeks now.
This Maple Cake I bring you today is packed with all-natural maple flavor throughout.
In general, I prefer to not use extracts and emulsions for flavoring if I can help it, so I’ve used pure maple syrup and maple sugar in the cake and frosting, as well as an amazing maple liqueur (Cabot Trail) that I didn’t even know existed until a couple months ago (thanks Toni!).
The maple liqueur is optional, but it gives the cake and frosting a nice kick.
How to Make this Maple Cake
For the maple cake layers, I modified my Vanilla Cake recipe, swapping out the granulated sugar and milk for some brown sugar, maple syrup, and maple liqueur. The cake layers have a delicious maple flavor on their own and would pair equally well with a plain Vanilla Buttercream, but I wanted to go maple all the way.
The Maple Swiss meringue buttercream gave me some trouble though, in my experimenting. I initially tried to make it with straight up maple syrup. Basically egg whites and maple syrup. In my mind, this should have worked. I know it works for an Italian meringue, so it should have worked for a Swiss meringue, right? Well, it didn’t. Or at least the one time I tried, it didn’t.
It’s entirely possible that the error was on my end, and that I overheated the egg whites before whipping. They heated up much faster than they would with granulated sugar, and I should have kept a better eye on them. When I went to whip the meringue, it ballooned like crazy and filled my entire bowl almost instantly.
It was thick, dull, and almost chunky, the way straight up whipped egg whites would be if you overbeat them. Or something. So maybe the mistake was in the heating, but I didn’t want to waste another 6 eggs + 1 cup maple syrup to try again.
Instead, I opted for maple sugar. I had to order this online, which was a bit of a pain, but I’m sure you could find it in a local health(ier) food store. The maple sugar worked much better, but my meringue still didn’t get that typical glossy shine. I went with it anyhow, as it was stiff and otherwise okay, and added the butter. After some whipping the buttercream came together perfectly.
If you’re having a hard time finding maple sugar, or just don’t want to bother with it, you can give the maple syrup a try and let me know how it works out. Or you can just use light brown sugar instead, with maple syrup (or extract) for flavor.
The maple streusel was a total afterthought but one of my favorite parts of this Maple Cake. I had forgotten how much I love having a crunch layer in my cakes and how easy it is to do. Literally some flour, sugar, and butter stirred together and baked for 5mins. That’s it!
The maple streusel recipe below makes way more than you’ll need (probably twice as much), so feel free to cut it in half. I like to make a lot because I like to pick out the larger chunks of the streusel for the cake rather than the small crumbs, and there will always be small crumbs. You can always use the extra as a yogurt topping or something similar!
The design on the sides of the cake was really easy to do. I just did a thicker coat of frosting on the outside and smoothed it with my icing scraper, then ran an icing comb (the far left one pictured here) around the sides of the cake for the effect.
The rope border on top is the same one I’ve done before, and I love it. It’s also very simple, with just a 1M piping tip.
The maple flavor in this Maple Cake is amazing. Ryan says it reminds him of eating pancakes, and I honestly can’t think of a better compliment.
If you’re a maple fan or looking for that perfect recipe to ease into the Fall season, you will love this one!!
Looking for more Fall dessert recipes?
Tips for making this Maple Cake with Maple Streusel
- The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so.
- The cooled cake layers can be baked ahead of time, double wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 3 months. Take out 2-3 hours before assembly.
- The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 1 week for frozen for 3 months. Bring to room temp and rewhip before using.
- Try to use good quality pure maple syrup for this recipe. I use a Grade A dark amber. Do not use pancake syrup.
- The maple liqueur is optional. You can sub in more maple syrup instead. Or you could pair it with something like bourbon!
- The eggs will take longer than normal to incorporate due to the small amount of granulated sugar, so be sure to whip well with each addition. Add a bit of the flour mixture after the last egg if needed to help it come together.
- The meringue may not be as shiny as a typical meringue due to the use of maple sugar vs granulated sugar.
- If you don’t want to bother with maple sugar, you can use light brown sugar instead and maple syrup (or extract) for flavor.
- This recipe makes much more maple streusel than you’ll need, but I like to have the option to pick out the larger chunks. Feel free to halve the recipe if you prefer or use the extra as a yogurt topping!
- If you like, you can add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the cake batter for even more flavor and crunch!
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my How to Bake Flat Cake Layers post!
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar or maple sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup maple syrup room temperature
- 1/4 cup maple liqueur or whole milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup maple sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted (6-8 Tbsp)
- 6 large egg whites
- 2 cups maple sugar
- 3 cups unsalted butter room temperature, cubed
- 6 Tbsp maple liqueur or maple syrup
- maple syrup optional
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour three 6″ (or two 8″) cake rounds and line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In a measuring cup, combine maple syrup and maple liqueur (or milk).
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 3mins). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition.* Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and maple mixture, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of maple). Fully incorporating after each addition.
- Bake for 30-35mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Whisk flour and maple sugar in a medium bowl. Add enough melted butter so that the mixture starts to clump. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for approx. 8mins. Cool completely. Break streusel apart if needed. **
Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- Place egg whites and maple sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.***
- Place bowl over a double boiler on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins). Or registers 160F on a candy thermometer.
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)). The meringue may not have the shine of a typical meringue.
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.****
- Add maple liqueur (or maple syrup) and whip until smooth.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Drizzle with 2 tsps maple syrup if desired. Top with approximately 2/3 cup of buttercream. Spread evenly. Top with approx 1/3 cup of maple streusel. Press gently into buttercream.
- Repeat with next layer and place the final layer on top of the cake. Crumb coat the cake and chill in fridge for 20mins.
- Generously frost and smooth the outside of the cake. Using an icing comb to do the design on the sides and a 1M tip to do a rope border on top. Fill the middle with extra streusel if desired.
** This recipe makes much more than you’ll need, but I like to have the option to pick out the larger chunks. Feel free to halve the recipe if you prefer.
*** Wipe your mixer bowl and whisk down with lemon juice or vinegar to make sure it is completely grease free and make sure there is no trace of yolk in your whites or your meringue will not stiffen.
**** The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth. If it looks soupy, place it in the fridge for 20mins and rewhip.
Originally published Aug 25, 2018
Oh….I am all over this. My hubby’s spring hobby is making maple syrup so we always have an ample supply on hand. I am not a cake eater but I love making them. He will LOVE this one! Thanks!
P.S. The maple sugar – I was trying to find some also, as I had a really great $2 off coupon for it. You’ll never guess where I found it – by accident. Shopper’s Drug Mart! Who knew?! It was Lantic/Rogers brand.
Hi Beverly! I hope you both love it 🙂 Thanks so much for the tip about the sugar! I would have never even thought to check shoppers.
Thank you Sylvie! I hope you try it 🙂
Hi! I am going to try this for my birthday cake this year. Can I add chopped pecans to the batter and to the top of the cake as decoration?
Hi Amanda! For sure, that would be delicious! Just toss them in a bit of flour and fold them in gently right at the end.
I want to make a chocolate variation of this cake but haven’t tasted it before. Do you think making it a chocolate cake w the maple streusel and frosting adding chocolate ganache in between the layers would taste good?
Thanks so much!
Hi Andrea! I think chocolate and maple would be delicious 🙂
Can I use coconut sugar in this recipe instead?
Hi Erica! For the cake it should be fine, I haven’t tried using it for the frosting though so can’t guarantee those results.
Hi! I’d like to use a bundt pan as that’s what I have at the moment, and this would be for a birthday tomorrow (!!) Would the quantity of this cake be too much? Also, how do you suggest I incorporate or use the struesel and buttercream in this case? Also, might you have a regular Maple buttercream recipe you’ve used that tastes similar? I’m afraid I might not have the time for experimentation this time around in the event the Swiss Merengue doesn’t work…Thanks 🙂
Hi Susan! I would sprinkle the streusel into the bundt pan before adding the cake batter. That should make it bake right into the cake! I don’t think the amount of cake batter would be too much, but it depends on the size of your pan. If it’s a normal 10-12 cup Bundt pan it should be fine. Note that the baking time will be longer. Since you’re doing it in a Bundt I would just do a maple glaze! 1-2 cups Powdered sugar + enough maple syrup to make it pourable (won’t take much). Another alternative for the streusel is sprinkling it on top of the glaze at the end. Let me know how it turns out!
Is this 814 calories per serving?thanks
Hi Ninadc! Yes, that’s per slice.
I have a question. Does the streusel within the cake get soggy after the cake sets? I have to make the cake well ahead of when we can eat it
Hi Mary! I find that it stays crunchy. It will soften a bit over time, but should always have some texture to it (it won’t turn to mush). How far ahead are you making the cake?
Jessica Kenny says
I just found this recipe and would like to make it for a holiday dinner tomorrow night. Any suggestions where to get maple sugar or is there a way to make it? I can’t find it at any of my local stores.
Hi Jessica! I’m not sure where you’re located but you can get some on Amazon (https://amzn.to/30bxQbe) or at health food stores.
Hi! I am wanting to make this recipe. It sounds delicious, I just don’t have a paddle type mixer. Would a regular hand mixer work just fine ?
Hi Kensy! A hand mixer will work totally fine for the cake batter but will be a challenge for the buttercream. It’s doable, but will take some time. Have a read through here for all my tips: https://livforcake.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream-recipe/