Walnut Maple Cake

Walnut Maple Cake
Serves 9 – 12

1 1/4 C flour
1/4 C (about 1 oz) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
heaping 1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
4 oz butter @ room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C dark brown sugar
2 eggs @ room temperature
1/2 C buttermilk @ room temperature
1 t vanilla
zest of half an orange

Walnut Maple Glaze

1 1/2 T butter
3 T maple syrup
1 1/2 T milk
1/2 C confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 t rum (optional)
pinch of salt, to taste
3/4 C (about 3 oz) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9” x 9” square cake pan with a light coating of oil. Line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.

Place flour and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground. Pour into a clean bowl and whisk together with baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, blending thoroughly and scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Combine the buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until mostly blended, then take off the mixer and finish mixing with a rubber spatula.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.

For the glaze, melt the butter in a saucepan with the maple syrup over medium low heat, whisking constantly. The mixture will bubble up. Add the milk and confectioner’s sugar and whisk to blend. Cook for just about a minute and take off the heat. Add a pinch of salt, to taste, and the rum, if using. Stir in the chopped walnuts and toss to coat. Pour the warm mixture over the cake and spread evenly. When the glaze has set, gently lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment handles to assist in removing. Cool the cake completely.