How do pancakes and maple syrup get more exciting? Turn them into a cake.
If you like maple-syrup drenched pancakes, you're going to love this dessert. The sour cream in both the cake and frosting temper what could otherwise be a cloying confection. The cake comes together in minutes in a single bowl, which you can clean out and use to make an equally speedy frosting. The frosting is a nice touch (it's fairly rich, which is why we have suggested as many as 16 servings), but know that the cake on its own would make a great addition to a brunch spread.
Look for dark-grade maple syrup, such as Grade A dark color/robust flavor or Grade A very dark/strong flavor.
Make Ahead: The baked cake can be made a day in advance and stored, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.
For the cake
Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing the pan
2½ cups (344 grams) flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (240 milliliters) dark-grade pure maple syrup
½ cup (120 milliliters) canola oil
½ cup (120 milliliters) whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
¼ cup (50 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (200 grams) confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons dark-grade pure maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over the sides of the pan (the overhang will give you handles to lift out the cake after it's baked).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the maple syrup, oil, milk, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, sour cream and vanilla, and stir with a rubber spatula just until combined and no streaks of flour remain. (There will be some lumps in the batter; this is okay.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter eight times to release air bubbles.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until deep golden and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, covering with foil after 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. (It may dip in the middle, but don't worry.) Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Using the parchment overhang as handles, remove cake from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting: In the same (cleaned-out) bowl you used to make the cake, beat the butter with a handheld mixer on medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. (You can do this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, if you prefer.) Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until combined. Add the sour cream, maple syrup and salt, and beat at medium-high speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not overbeat.
Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake. Drizzle with additional maple syrup and serve.
Serves 12 to 16 (makes one 9-inch cake)
Nutrition (based on 16 servings) | Calories: 340; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Cholesterol: 45 mg; Sodium: 150 mg; Carbohydrates: 51 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 22 g; Protein: 3 g.
Adapted from a recipe in the September-October issue of Bake From Scratch magazine.