I first shared the recipe for this maple spice cake topped with wine poached pears on my Instagram feedback in the fall of last year but thought it would also be a nice offering for Valentine’s Day.
What’s In Maple Spice Cake
The maple spice cake is super easy to make, vegan-friendly, and flavored with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, and vanilla bean. It’s frosted with fluffy maple buttercream frosting that’s made with 4 simple ingredients and whips up in minutes. The red wine poached pears lend a dramatic and elegant presentation to this humble cake. Serve with your favorite red wine for a romantic Valentine’s dessert.
The maple spice cake is moist and fluffy. This recipe makes one 3-layer 6-inch cake. The base recipe can also be used to make 12 standard-sized cupcakes or 1 single layer 8 or 9-inch round or square cake. The baking time should be about the same for cupcakes, 20 minutes. For a large single layer cake up the baking time to 35-45 minutes.
The maple buttercream frosting is light and fluffy and comes together with just a few simple ingredients. It can easily be made vegan by swapping dairy butter with your favorite plant-based butter. Another yummy frosting option for this cake is cream cheese frosting.
Red Wine Poached Pears
Red wine poached pears are a delicious dessert on their own but really send this cake over the top, flavor, and presentation-wise. Reducing the poaching liquid to a syrup makes the perfect flavorful drizzle and sauce to serve with this cake.
- 210 g all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups
- 150 g granulated sugar 3/4 cup, or unrefined sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/2 cup milk or plant-based milk
- 1/2 cup neutral-tasting oil such as extra-light olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 226 g room temperature salted butter 1 cup or 2 sticks, use plant-based butter for a vegan version
- 260 g powdered sugar 2 cups
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Wine Poached Pears
- 2 bosc pears
- 1 1/2 cup red wine
- 100 g granulated sugar 1/2 cup, or unrefined sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or a split vanilla bean
- 3 whole cardamom pods
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease 3 6-inch cake tins and line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Flour the sides.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix together with a rubber spatula until every combined, about 1 minute.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake tins. Bake on the center rack for about 20 minutes or until the sides of the cake pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool cakes in tins for 10 minutes then run a knife along the edges and invert the tins onto a cooling rack. Lift the tins off and peel away the parchment paper.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- Layer and frost the cake with the maple buttercream then top with halved poached pears and drizzle the thickened sauce over the top of the cake.
- Cream butter in a mixer with a whisk attachment until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until light, airy, smooth, and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Wine Poached Pears
- Add everything except the pears to a saucepan or deep-sided small brasier.
- Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a simmer.
- Peel the pears and add them to the simmering poaching liquid. Poach them until tender but still firm enough to keep their shape, about 15 minutes. Spoon the liquid over them throughout the cooking process and turn them a few times so they cook evenly on all sides.
- Remove pears from the liquid and set them aside to cool.
- Bring the poaching liquid back to a boil and reduce until the thickened into a sauce, about 10 minutes.
- Strain and cool the sauce.
- The cake and pears can be made the day before. Wrap the cake with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Store the poached pears in a covered container in the refrigerator.
- Best eaten the day it is assembled and served. Leftover cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 1-2 days.
- The cake recipe can also make 12 standard-sized cupcakes or 1 single layer 8 or 9-inch round or square cake. The baking time should be about the same for cupcakes, 20 minutes. For a large single layer cake up the baking time to 35-45 minutes.
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