You definitely want this one-bowl, no-mixer, Easy Spice Cake with Maple Glaze in your life! The aroma, as it bakes, is intoxicating and the rave reviews will just keep on coming!
Do you ever think something is going to be really easy and then… it’s not? That’s the story of this Easy Spice Cake with Maple Glaze. But don’t worry, it will be easy for you. Super easy!
Last week, I received a comment from a happy baker about our French Grandmother’s Lemon Yogurt Cake. Despite the funny name, this cake is one of the most beloved recipes on the blog; so moist, light and super delicious! As I thought about the cake, I remembered how easy it is and how quickly it comes together.
The comment also brought to mind our French Almond Cake which is a spin off of the French Grandmother’s Lemon Yogurt Cake. It’s also one of the top ten favorite Café recipes. As usual, my foodie imagination started to dream about other ways to vary this simple, delicious cake recipe.
Next thing I knew, I was in the kitchen with the first attempt of this Easy Spice Cake with Maple Glaze. I thought it would be super simple; just substitute a few ingredients and I’d be good to go. Our son, Nick stopped over with his family shortly after the cake came out of the oven. While everyone enjoyed it, we decided it needed a little more work, more spice and a different glaze.
In the making…
Well, it was a little more than “a little more work”. It took 5 cups of sugar, 15 eggs, 7½ cups of flour, 10 teaspoons of baking powder, lots of spices, 2½ cups of oil, 1 BIG carton of yogurt and a whole lot of stirring but we got it! Yup, 5 cakes later, the recipe was definitely “right”… and I think you’re going to love it as much as we do.
Several of the test cakes went out the door that day to neighbors, as I worked on perfecting the recipe. They were quite happy, and so was I. I knew that these cakes are dangerously irresistible, and the scale in our bathroom would be telling a woeful tale, if we didn’t share this delicious stash.
Why do round cakes tend to dome in the center when baked?
One of the problems I wanted to solve, while making this cake was the issue of cakes doming too much in the center. This type of cake is actually turned out of the pan upside down for serving. The top comes out nice and flat (because it’s actually the bottom) but if there’s too much dome created in the center when it bakes, the cake won’t sit nicely on a cake plate.
Have you ever had this happen? You finish preparing your cake batter, pour it in the pan, nicely even out the top and into the oven it goes. Next thing you know, you take a peek, and there’s a little mole hill sitting in the pan with a wonderful aroma. What happened? As the cake rises, the metal on the outside of the pan conducts the heat faster around the edges than in the center. The sides of the cake start setting, but the center continues to rise and bake. Hence, the dome.
Solutions for “the domed cake”
There are a number of solutions to this problem. First of all, you can try baking at a lower temperature. Turn your oven down 25 degrees. The lower temp will cause your cake to bake a little slower which sometimes helps it bake more evenly. I’ve found that sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Another trick : you can purchase a “flower nail” which is placed in the center of the cake before it’s baked. It’s a nail with a blunt tip and a big, wide, flat base. It’s placed in the center of the cake pan, before the batter is added. Being metal, it will also conduct the heat, making the center cook faster so the cake is more evenly cooked. You’ll find these at kitchen stores, specialty stores like Michaels or A.C. Moore and online.
Flour nails work quite well, but do create a little indent in the center of the bottom of the cake. For a layer cake, this is no problem, as the bottoms of the cakes are nicely sandwiched in between layers of icing. On a cake like this Easy Spice Cake with Maple Glaze however, flower nails are not ideal, as the bottom of the cake ends up being the top.
Using a “cake strip” is another trick to prevent doming. These strips can create a layer of insulation around the outside of the cake pan. The insulation keeps the edges from baking too quickly and promotes even baking which prevents domes, cracks and problems with the cake collapsing in the center. They can be purchased at kitchen stores, specialty stores like Michaels or A.C. Moore and online. I ended up using a cake strip with my cake and it worked out great significantly less doming.
I tried several different ways to finish the cake, but in the end I used a super simple combination of maple syrup, powdered sugar and vanilla. It’s brushed on the cake right after it emerges from the oven. The syrupy mixture seeps down into the cake a bit and then creates an outer layer that’s thin, crisp and oh… so delicious!
This is the really cool part! It will take you less than 10 minutes to throw this cake together – and that’s giving you a little time to answer a text or solve a crisis with a toddler. Within 30 minutes, your house will be filled with the most amazing, tantilizing aroma!
Although this Easy Spice Cake is perfect on it’s own, I like to fancy it up just a bit with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. You can purchase little jars that are made just for sprinkling or use a small fine-mesh sieve.
Right now, you probably have all the ingredients for this Easy Spice Cake with Maple Glaze in your fridge and pantry. If not, make a shopping list and run to the grocery store. I promise you’ll want this cake in your super-easy-but-dinner-party-worthy recipe arsenal!
I’m wishing we could sit down together and enjoy a sliver. Well, maybe just a bit more than a sliver – Bon Appétit!
Café Tips for making this Easy Spice Cake with Maple Glaze
- The recipe calls for regular yogurt. Greek yogurt can be substituted by using 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup milk.
- I find a metal whisk is the easiest and quickest way to mix up this Easy Spice Cake.
- Use real maple syrup for the glaze. It’s a super simple glaze and you really want the ingredients to shine.
- Use a medium to large bowl, even though it’s not a huge recipe. When the oil is added, you don’t want it to splash out of the bowl as you mix it in.
- Don’t under bake this cake. The center should feel fairly firm and spring back when gently touched. You can also check for doneness with a toothpick. Just insert it in the center of the cake, it should come back clean or with just a few crumbs. If it has wet batter clinging to it, give the cake a few more minutes in the oven.
P.S. We had some friends over for dinner who watch their gluten intake. I made the cake for them with 1 cup almond flour and 1/2 cup all purpose flour. It was fantastic!
And if you want to make it gluten free, you can use 1¾ cup almond flour and ¼ cup King Arthur Gluten Free Flour.
What I used to make and present this Easy Spice Cake with Maple Glaze
- For the cake:
- ½ cup yogurt for Greek yogurt, see tips above
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup sunflower oil
- For the maple glaze:
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Spray a 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray, rub inside surface of pan with a paper towel to cover evenly with the spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and spray parchment paper lightly. Set aside.
- In a medium-large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended.
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt and spices, mixing until all flour is combined.
- Add the oil and stir well. Don't worry, at first it will seem to separate but keep stirring till smooth.
- Pour the batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake.
- Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then turn it out of the pan onto the rack.
- Combine the maple syrup, powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze all over the cake. Just keep going over the cake with more layers till the glaze is gone. It will seem like a lot at first, but just keep going. Some of it will drip off ,but most of it will soak in. Allow cake to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.