Maple Tea Cake

catherine yronwode is a woman I admire for her encyclopaedic knowledge, her business acumen, her magical skill and her absolutely fabulous honey cake.  It’s rich, moist, filled with spices and sweetness and if you want the recipe it can be found in the Hoodoo Food cookbook.

Now given I can never leave well enough alone, and inspired by her family recipe, this cake is my quintessentially Canadian version featuring tons of maple syrup and tea.  It is truly decadent and worth making yourself sourdough starter for (since I also ferment pretty much all my baked goods)!

What you need:

  • 3-3/4 cups whole grain flour (I used a 3:1 combo of kamut and wheat, but pretty much anything goes) + extra for the pan
  • 1 cup strong Earl Grey Lavender tea
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1-2/3 cups maple syrup (no, there’s nothing else you can substitute for this one)
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup walnut bits (optional)

What you do:

  1. In the morning, in a glass or ceramic bowl (don’t use steel – the sourdough is acidic and doesn’t play well with metal) mix together the flour, tea, applesauce, spices, vanilla, starter, and 1 cup of the maple syrup.  You should get a pretty wet dough.
  2. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth and leave in a warm place for 10-12 hours.
  3. Once the dough is done fermenting (it may not have doubled, but it should definitely have risen some and show a matrix of bubbles within), preheat the oven to 375F.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2/3 cup of maple syrup, baking soda and sunflower oil.  You’ll want the ingredients at room temperature and make sure there aren’t any lumpy bits of baking soda hanging out anywhere.
  5. Fold/mix (it’ll be half-way between the two techniques) the contents of the small bowl into the fermented dough of the larger bowl until you have a uniform batter.  Be careful not to over-mix.  Work as quickly as you can.
  6. Pour it all into the bundt pan and pop it in the oven ASAP (it will be rising as you work given the reaction between the basic baking soda and acidic batter).
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan and once it can be handled ungloved, turn it out onto a wire rack.  Try and wait for it to cool completely before eating, but that may be difficult.  So will having only one piece…

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