Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
200 g (7oz) self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
200 g (7oz) soft light brown sugar
125 ml (4 1/2 fl oz) buttermilk
200 g (7oz) butter (melted, plus extra for greasing)
50 ml (2fl oz) maple syrup
2 eggs, beaten
75 g (3oz) pecans (finely chopped)
for the pecan praline
50 g (2oz) caster sugar
50 g (2oz) pecans
for the icing
300 g (11oz) cream cheese
25 ml (1fl oz) maple syrup
200 g (7oz) icing sugar (sifted)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/ Gas 4), then butter the sides of the cake tins and line the base of each tin with a disc of baking parchment. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and mix in the sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the butter, maple syrup and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and sugar, mixing together to combine, then fold in the chopped pecans.
Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden on top and springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Loosen around the edges using a small, sharp knife and carefully remove each cake from its tin before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling down.
Meanwhile, make the pecan praline. First line a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment, then place the sugar in a non-stick frying pan or saucepan and scatter the nuts over the top. Cook over a medium heat until the sugar turns a caramel colour.
Do not stir the pan, but carefully ‘swirl’ it to allow the sugar to caramelise evenly and to coat the nuts in caramel. Alternatively, you could just toast the pecans instead.