- 2 ¼ cups (9 oz.) sifted cake flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- ¼ cup (5 2/3 oz.) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 8 egg whites, at room temperature
- ½ tsp. cream of tartar
- ½ cup (3 ½ oz.) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (2 oz.) toasted finely chopped pecans
Brown Butter Icing:
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream (plus a few more tbsp. for thinning if needed)
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
Make the cake: Adjust a rack to the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch angel food cake pan with feet with parchment paper, ungreased. In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add the brown sugar and whisk the mixture by hand to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks, oil, maple syrup, water and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry mixture and briskly stir with a rubber spatula until just smooth. Do not overmix. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg white on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Turn the mixer down to medium speed and gradually add the sugar in a steady stream. Kick the mixer up to high speed and whip until the whites just hold firm (not stiff) glossy peaks. Fold a third of the whites into the batter using as few strokes as possible. Add the remaining whites, folding only until evenly incorporated. Lightly fold in the pecans during the last few strokes. Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when touched or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs attached, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool upside down by inverting the cake pan onto its legs. To remove the cooled cake from the pan, slide a long thin knife or spatula along the sides to loosen and knock the pan sharply on a hard surface until the cake drops out. Make the Frosting: Place the sifted sugar into a large bowl. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a saucepan. Allow the butter to change from a lemon to a chestnut color. Swirl the pan to ensure even heating. Remove the pan from the heat once a nutty sort of scent emerges. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugar. Add the cream, vanilla and salt. Whisk until smooth. Allow mixture to sit for 30 minutes or more until icing firms. Frost the top and sides with brown butter icing. To cut the cake, use an angel food cake cutter or a serrated knife and sawing (rather than a slicing) motion. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Tested in the THASC kitchen. Photo by THASC.
THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.