The nutty, syrupy filling of this dessert from Food Network chef Nigella Lawson, is simply forked into being; you could make the cake batter with no more equipment than a bowl and a wooden spoon. But beware the processor here as it is very easy to overmix as you blitz, resulting in a rubbery — rather than cakey — texture.
Maple Pecan Filling
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp soft unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts), roughly chopped
1/2 cup maple syrup
Flavourless oil, for greasing
1-1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1-2 tsp icing sugar, for decoration
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using flavourless oil (or cooking spray) grease your 9" bundt tin, and leave upside down on newspaper for the excess oil to drain out.
Step 2: Make the filling for the cake by mixing together the 1/4 cup flour and butter with a fork, until you end up with the sort of mixture you’d expect when making crumble topping. Then, still using the fork, mix in the cinnamon, chopped pecans (or walnuts) and maple syrup, to form a sticky, bumpy paste. Set aside for a moment.
Step 3: For the cake, measure the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.
Step 4: Cream the butter and sugar (beat well until light in texture and pale in colour), then beat in 1 tbsp of the flour mixture, then 1 egg, then another tbsp of flour mixture followed by the second egg.
Step 5: Add the rest of the flour mixture, beating as you go, and then finally the crème fraîche or sour cream. You should expect to end up with a fairly firm cake batter.
Step 6: Spoon just more than half the cake batter into the oiled bundt tin. Spread the mixture up the sides a little and around the funnel of the tin to create a rim. You don’t want the sticky filling to leak out to the sides of the tin.
Step 7: Dollop the maple filling carefully into the dent in the cake batter, then cover the filling with the remaining batter. Smooth the top and put the tin into the oven for 40 minutes, though it’s best to check with a cake tester after 30 minutes.
Step 8: Once cooked, and the cake tester comes out clean where it hits the sponge (obviously, any gooey filling will stick to the tester), let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes in its tin, then loosen the edges with a small spatula, including around the middle funnel bit, and turn the cake out onto the rack.
Step 9: When the cake is cold, dust with icing sugar by pushing a teaspoonful or so through a tea strainer.
Making Cake Ahead
The cake can be baked up to 2 days ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
The cake can be frozen, tightly wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight at room temperature and dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen (2010 Knopf Canada).