A Canadian classic! This Maple Syrup Pudding Cake is the perfect way to enjoy your Spring maple syrup!
Spring in this part of the world means maple syrup. This is central Canada, after all, home to many, many maple trees. And as the snow recedes and we move into a new season with warmer days, but still cold nights, the sap begins to flow.
There is not a better place for a bit of Spring's wondrous bounty than this traditional French-Canadian pudding cake known as Pouding Chomeur, which translates to "Poor Man's Pudding". Clearly they were getting their maple syrup a lot cheaper back when they gave it that name! (In fairness, I think they used to make it with brown sugar and cream sauce and only later on did maple syrup become the favoured alternative.)
You can make this pudding cake in a cast-iron skillet or in individual servings in ramekins. My skillet is 8-inches across the bottom (10-inches across the top) and was the perfect size. Just be sure that you place your skillet (or ramekins) on a baking sheet, to catch any small over flows. This cake cooks at a blistering 450° F., so it will rise and sputter as it cooks. Likewise, when you pour the maple/cream sauce over the batter, be sure not to fill the pan more that about 2/3 full (just over half). You may not be able to use absolutely all of the sauce.
Cook's Notes for Maple Syrup Pudding Cake
One last note about my cake and it's slightly yellow cast. I accidentally used Omega 3 eggs in this one, which have the brightest yellow yolks and tend to lend a bit of a vibrant yellow cast to baked goods. It doesn't make any difference beyond that, just pointing it out as your cake make not be a vibrant as mine, if using regular eggs.
I have to be honest, I'm not really sure why the cake batter/dough needs to be made ahead and refrigerated. I'm sure there's a reason, I just have no idea what it is. I have always made it at least a bit ahead (not always 24 hours), mixing the batter in the morning and cooking at dinner. If you have the time, I'd suggest doing it. If you want to live dangerously, you can try a short trip to the fridge (it does firm up from refrigeration).
Maple Syrup Pudding Cake
- 6 oz butter (at room temperature)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (35%)
- Pinch of salt
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and beat at medium speed until completely incorporated. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture and stir just until the flour is completely incorporated. Remove the dough to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 450° F. and butter a cast-iron skillet or high-sided baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the maple syrup and heavy cream to a boil. Turn off heat, add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool.
- Butter your skillet. Spoon the dough into the bottom of the skillet or baking pan and press down to level and cover the bottom. (alternately, you can divide the dough among 5 or 6 ramekins). Place your skillet, pan or ramekins on a baking sheet (*don't skip this part or you'll potentially be cleaning your oven later!). Pour the maple/cream sauce over the dough being sure not to fill the pan no more that about 2/3 full (the cake will rise and you'll be pushing the limits of the edges here. You may not be able to add every bit of it). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the puddings are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, serve warm with vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche or even sour cream.