By Guest Blogger, Barbara Hayes
Welcome our newest guest blogger, Barbara Hayes! Barbara works as a bookkeeper in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not calculating tax returns, she can usually be found tending to her garden, scouring antique stores for vintage treasures, and of course, cooking something amazing!
I love acorns. I collect all things “acorn.” I pick them up off the ground as I walk through our neighborhood, bring home wooden carvings, cookie cutters, and candles all in shapes of acorns.
I also love cooking and being in a warm kitchen when cool fall temperatures arrive. So put cooking and collecting together and what do you get – cakes in the shape of acorns! Someone who loves me knew what they were doing when they gave me a Williams-Sonoma acorn cake pan as a birthday gift last year.
This is a great scratch cake recipe originally from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen and packaged with their acorn cake pan. The recipe is long and seems quite involved, but you’ll find it quite easy and worth the exercise of baking as well as great tasting cake. Use a cake pan of any small shape, like mini muffins. If they each take more than 1 Tsp. of batter, then adjust your cooking time a little longer, watch carefully and check with the toothpick. Don’t forget to write down the time for your own pan.
• 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp. baking powder
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. ground ginger
• 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
• ½ cup milk
• ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• ½ cup maple sugar (or light brown sugar)
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
(Optional- I decided to omit this)
• 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
• 2 oz. cream cheese
• 3 Tbs. maple syrup
• 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• 2 Tbs. water
• 1 Tbs. bourbon (optional)
• Coarse raw sugar
Start with all ingredients at room temperature.
Position rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350˚F. Grease and flour your pan tapping out excess flour.
To make cakes, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the maple sugar and granulated sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Spoon 1 Tbs. of batter into each into prepared pan, spreading the batter evenly in each section. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Use a toothpick to help remove them from the pan and transfer to a wire wrack.
To make frosting: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Set the frosting aside in a cool place.
To make the glaze: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar, maple syrup, water and bourbon. Cook unit the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Set the rack with the cakelets over a sheet of wax paper. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over cakelets. Put coarse sugar in a small bowl. Hold the base of a cakelet with your fingers and dip the top of the acorn into the sugar. Repeat with remaining cakelets. Let them cool completely, at least 2 hours, before assembling or serving.
To assemble the cakelets, spread about ½ tsp. frosting on the flat side of a cakelet. Place its matching cakelet half, two flat sides together. Repeat with the rest of the cakelets. Refrigerate until the frosting is set, about 30 minutes. If you are using other pan shapes frost each in any creative way of your choice.
I plan to give my acorn cakelets as a housewarming gift, so I placed them in a small basket I found at an antique store and added my own personalized gift tag.
- Oval Gift Tags • I chose the “Dottie” style in Chestnut and Ivory.
- Acorn Cakelet Pan • From Willliams-Sonoma
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