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Pecan Spice Cake w/Maple Frosting Redo

The Sous Chef is not a big chocolate ooey gooey fan. He's more of a pound cake, plain kinda guy. Yeah - I know I don't get it either??!! So I had seen this recipe in Cooking Light, apparently from November 2010, and thought he would like it. He's a big maple fan, as well spice cake.

Well first of all I should have went to the Cooking Light website and read the comments before I made this cake. They all mentioned that the icing set up real fast, and boy they were not kidding.  Now I'm a fast icer, but this was beyond fast. It was starting to set up in the bowl before it even made it to the cake! Also as some of the commenters said there definitely was not enough icing either. The icing was so set, the pecans are just resting on top. They are not set in the icing. The icing really did have a nice flavor. The maple really went well with the cake.

See how icing set up - I could barely spread it on the sides!
I used 9"pans.  Apparently I don't have 8" pans - shocking I know. So the cake was not as tall as in the original recipe. I also have these great little silicon inserts for my 9" pans so I did not play around with parchment. I've had these inserts for several years and they work great.  I know the comments on Amazon said they were not exactly 9" but they fit my pans fine.
You just need to grease the sides of the pan

They also placed chopped pecans on the top. I thought whole pecans looked nicer.  The Sous Chef brought the first attempt to work for consumption, while I furiously worked on version #2. (I discovered he also kept a few extra pieces at home for himself - so I guess he liked it).
See how set the icing is-there are cracks too!
See how the pecans fell off

The first change was adding 1 c of raisins to the cake batter. So my solution for the icing was to use a cream cheese maple icing. I know this probably totally negates the idea of Cooking Light but cream cheese icing is so good.  If you want to go for lighter, buy the reduced fat cream cheese.

Maple Icing

2 pkgs (8oz) cream cheese - softened
4T butter - softened
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Beat cream cheese until smooth (way longer than you think you should).  Add butter and mix until incorporated. Add brown sugar 1tbs at a time.  With mixer running, pour in maple syrup and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar and cinnamon. If the icing is too soft, place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before icing cake.

Now instead of using cinnamon, I used cinnamon extract because I bought it and wanted to play around with it. It was the same company that makes the chocolate extract that I love.  Stick with the chocolate. The cinnamon extract was meh. I think the real deal cinnamon has a better taste. This tasted a little fake. It had the heat from the cinnamon but definitely not the full flavor.

So how did the redo go?

Nice and creamy

With the raisins, it almost looks like carrot cake
The Sous Chef said the cake didn't taste as spicy this time around.  I used the same amount of spice but maybe the raisins made it taste sweeter? Or it could have been because this time the cake was chilled because of the cream cheese icing, so that dulled the flavors?

Final vote:

Redo - 1 Me                                                                      Original - 1 Sous Chef


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