Maple Syrup Cake with Maple Syrup Buttercream

This cake is good at any time of the year, yet especially appropriate during the cold-seasoned months.  Rich, decadent maple syrup (I prefer Burton's)

8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter - room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 cups maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla-bean paste
1 cup chopped walnuts

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine butter and flour until crumbly.  Add eggs, one at a time followed by baking powder, salt and ginger.  Slowly pour in maple syrup, scraping bowl with a spatula to make sure the ingredients are all combined.  Add vanilla bean paste followed by walnuts - scraping bowl again to make sure the ingredients are well combined.

Divide evenly between two 9", round baking pans that have been sprayed with Bak-klene to ensure easy release.  Bake in a 350 degree, preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and set on cooling rack to cool for ten minutes - then turn cakes over to remove them from pan.  Allow cakes to cool completely.  Then refrigerate them to make frosting them easier.

Maple Buttercream
4 eggs
2 cups maple syrup
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup (1 stick) butter-flavored shortening
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add eggs and beat until foamy - roughly 3-4 minutes.  Pour maple syrup into a 3-4 Qt. saucepan and bring to a boil - cook until mixture reaches soft-ball stage (238-240 degrees).  With the mixer on medium low, slowly pour maple syrup into whisked eggs - whisk for roughly ten minutes until mixture is cooled down considerably.  Pour into a sealable container and set aside until fully cooled.

Remove cover from containter and spoon off the majority of the foamy top of mixture.  In the bowl of the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add butter and butter-flavored shortening - beating until light and fluffy.  Slowly pour in maple syrup/egg mixture and vanilla bean paste - then beat until combined and frosting looks glossy.  Frost cake as you desire, then place back into the refrigerator to chill for at least six hours - it is easier to cut and serve the cake when it is chilled.

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