Summer should be here by now, right? It’s July on Thursday, and Summer still hasn’t officially showed up. Not only is it July on Thursday, but it’s also Canada day here in…well, Canada of course. I’m lucky enough to be able to get a few days off from both jobs and head on up to Whistler to celebrate! Maybe summer is up there. Here’s hoping!
I wanted to make something for Canada Day, and what’s more Canadian than Maple Syrup? It’s deeeeeelicous. I couldn’t live without it. How would we eat our pancakes, waffles or French toast, which I love to smother it on. When you see a stack of pancakes with a pat of butter on it, with the maple syrup running down the sides, your mouth automatically starts to water. So what are the facts on maple syrup?
Native Americans in northeastern North America taught the European colonists how to tap certain maple trees and boil the sap into syrup. Now Canada makes 80% of the world’s maple syrup, with the vast majority coming from Quebec. The maple leaf is also on the Canadian flag.
Maple syrup is made by boring holes in sugar maple tree trunks into which tubes are inserted, allowing the sap to flow into buckets. Or plastic tubing with a partial vacuum is used and the sap is pumped into holding tanks, then taken to a sugarhouse where it is boiled in evaporators until it has the correct density of 66% sugar. If the density is too low it will spoil. If it is too high the syrup will crystallize in the bottles. It takes about 10 gallons of sap to make one quart of maple syrup.
A maple tree lasts at least 30 years and is 12 inches in diameter before it is tapped. A maximum of four is allowed on one tree. This also does not do any harm to the tree, in case you were wondering. 30-50 gallons of sap are evaporated to make one gallon of syrup.
Hope everyone has a good Canada Day! This cake would be delicious with a cup of tea or coffee, or a quick breakfast loaf or muffin. The maple flavor is subtle but sweet. What are you making for this Canada Day?
Maple Walnut Cake
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon allspice or cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 cup walnut pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10′ pie plate, this can also be made using a loaf pan or into muffins.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, syrup, vanilla and milk. Mix well. Batter may look slightly lumpy but not to worry.
4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and allspice in a large bowl. Mix well.
5. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, stirring to prevent lumps. Add the walnut pieces and mix just enough to incorporate the ingredients.
6. Pour the batter into the desired greased baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. This is delicious on it’s own, but you can spread a little butter onto a warm piece, or sprinkle some icing sugar on top. You could also make a maple icing by adding maple syrup, milk and icing sugar together and pour over the cake or loaf.
Happy Canada Day!