Nigella’s autumnal birthday cake

The September cakes for work were three quite different ones. The first one was Nigella’s autumnal birthday cake which sounded amazing when I read the recipe, but I was rather disappointed actually.

It sponges were quite dry. Admittedly, mine was baked slightly too long because I followed the recipe, but it would have been dry anyway I think. The meringue frosting is lovely, but would have worked better with a more buttery sponge. And the addition of maple syrup to both cakes and frosting sounded wonderful, but didn’t actually taste much in reality.

I won’t make this cake again, but I could definitely use the frosting for something else. And doesn’t the cake look rather good, despite the very simple decorations.

Autumnal birthday cake, serves 8-10

After Nigella’s recipe.

For two sponges:

175 g softened butter

100 g caster sugar

3 eggs

350 ml maple syrup

500 g self-raising flour

175 ml hot water


2 egg whites

125 ml maple syrup

125 ml caster sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla essence

Topping: 125 g pecans (I used only 40 g walnuts instead) chopped

Heat the oven to 180C. Beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at the time. Add the syrup gradually while stirring. Alternate the flour and water, adding while stirring. Divide the batter between two 20 cm springforms, buttered and lined with baking parchment. Bake for 40 mins (I think 20 will be enough). Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before assembling the cake.

Mix all the ingredients for the frosting apart from the vanilla in a bowl that fits a sauce pan. Fill the pan with water so it comes up just below the bowl. Bring to the boil and place the bowl om top. Beat with a handheld whisk for 5-7 minutes until stiff peaks. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Assemble the cake and coat it all around with the frosting. Sprinkle the nuts on top.

This cake is best the same day it is made.

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