Maple Syrup Pumpkin Bundt Cake

I use lots of pumpkin puree during the fall, making old classics like Pumpkin Pie and new favorites like Churro Pumpkin Blondies. I come back to the classics time and again, of course, but I’m always on the lookout for recipes to add to the new favorites list. This Maple Syrup Pumpkin Bundt Cake is a recipe that recently became a repeat in my kitchen. The bundt cake uses plenty of pumpkin puree and real maple syrup, along with a generous dose of pumpkin pie spices, for a wonderfully moist cake that is packed with fall flavors.

Pumpkin has a natural sweetness that works well with a variety of sweeteners. Molasses, either in the form of brown sugar or liquid molasses, is one of the most commonly added pumpkin flavors. Molasses is delicious, but can overpower the more delicate flavor of pumpkin. Maple syrup brings a wonderfully light, sweet maple flavor to the cake and still lets the pumpkin shine through. A maple syrup glaze on top of the cake highlights the maple flavor even more.

When it comes to baking with maple syrup – especially in a recipe like this one, where pumpkin and spices are also prominent flavors – the maple flavor is more subtle than when you use a maple extract in a cake. Maple extract adds a big dose of strong, praline-like maple flavor and will really put it at the forefront of the cake. I prefer to stick with pure maple syrup, opting for a darker syrup (dark amber/robust) that has a relatively intense flavor, rather than using the extract, but you can add in a 1/2 teaspoon to the cake batter if you really want to up the overall maple flavor. Maple extract tends to be very strong, so use a light touch if you decide to include it!

The cake is dense and moist, with a great pumpkin flavor. It’s not overly sweet, so the glaze is a nice finishing touch for the recipe to add an extra touch of maple. The cake could be served for dessert, or alongside a fall brunch, as it is excellent with coffee. If you want to change things up, you can fold in up to 3/4 cup of finely chopped, toasted nuts to add some texture to the cake. Both pecans and walnuts go very well with maple and pumpkin. The cake will keep for several days after baking, so feel free to either nibble on it in tiny slices over the course of the day or indulge in a big slice all at once!

Maple Pumpkin Bundt Cake
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 15-oz can (approx 1 1/4 cups) pumpkin puree

Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1-2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the vegetable oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
Whisk together milk and pumpkin puree in a small bowl or measuring cup.
Stir about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by half of the pumpkin mix. Stir in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining pumpkin and the remaining flour. Mix only until ingredients are just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer
Bake for about 45 min, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched.
Cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cake is cooled, whisk together all glaze ingredients in a small bowl, adding heavy cream until glaze reaches a pourable consistency, and drizzle over the top of the cake.

Makes 1 bundt cake; serves 10-12

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