This winter, let’s embrace the cold (and even celebrate it) with this chilly-weather inspired cake. Ultra-Canadian both inside and out, this maple and nutmeg flavoured dessert reminds us of bundling up for snowy winter days spent tobogganing or skating on the local rink. To create this super cute cake, simply carve a small layer cake into the domed shape before using a few decorative piping techniques to mimic different knit patterns with buttercream icing. Pop a pom-pom on top, and add a few marzipan maple leaves for extra Canadian flair!
This gorgeous cake is a perfect, whimsical showstopper for any party this season.
Maple Nutmeg Cake
For the maple nutmeg cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 6-inch round cake pans. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the sugar and mix on medium until light and fluffy. Add in the maple and vanilla. Mix until combined. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add in the eggs 1 at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on low, add in ½ the dry ingredients. Once combined, stream in the buttermilk. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Remove ⅓ of the batter and mix in the red gel food coloring until desired shade is achieved. Mix the remaining plain batter by hand until smooth. Place the red batter in one of the prepared cakes pans. Evenly divide the remaining batter between the other 2 pans. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
For the maple buttercream, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the sugar and maple syrup and mix until combined. Once combined, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add more sugar and/or milk until desired consistency is reached.
For the red rose buttercream, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the sugar, vanilla and milk until combined. Once combined, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until fluffy (3 to 5 minutes). Add more sugar and/or milk until desired consistency is reached, keeping in mind that there will be more liquid added should you choose to dye the frosting red. Add in the red food colouring, begin with about ½ tsp at a time. Continue to add more colour and mix until combined. The colour will darken as it sits. Try adding food colouring until a bright red is achieved, then wait 15 minutes to see if it needs more. For a darker shade, add in a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder.
For the assembly, once the cakes are cool, trim the tops of the red layer and 1 of the white layers. Place the trimmed white layer on a cake board or serving dish. Spread on about ½ cup of buttercream with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Top with the red layer and repeat with the last white layer (dome side up, if present). Using a long, serrated knife, trim and carve the cake into a domed shape. Save the cake scraps and set aside. Once the cake has been carved into the shape of a toque, crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream all over. Fill 2 piping bags fitted with decorative piping tips with the red and maple buttercream. Starting from the bottom, pipe rows of the maple buttercream ⅓ of the way up (or until the red cake layer appears). Pipe red buttercream where the red cake layer is. Continue on to pipe maple buttercream over the top layer of cake.
For the pom-pom on top, gather a portion of the scraps and roll/form into a large cake ball. Place on top of the cake and pipe on red buttercream using a grass piping tip. Tint the marzipan with red gel food coloring. Roll out to about ⅛ to ¼ inch and cut out maple leaves using a small cookie cutter. Place on the cake as desired. For the maple buttercream (white) piping details, use a small rose tip (104) to pipe roses of small, interlocking V’s to create the woven pattern. Reverse the direction of the piping every-other row. For the red buttercream piping details, use a small star tip (18) to pipe ropes (spirals) of buttercream. Use a grass tip to cover the pom-pom on top.