I thought it was about time for another epic cake.  If I could, I would just create OMG cakes all day long, but then they wouldn’t be special, right? And boy is this one special. See how many words are in the title? Life tip: when you see a cake with THAT many delicious things in it’s name, you know it’s going to be gooooooood. Just look at it… *moment of silence, please*

A cake this beautiful always has a muse and my muse for this one was real, proper Muscovado sugar.
I’ve only recently discovered the world of proper unrefined sugar. Until now, I’ve kind of just thought that sugar is well, sugar; although it comes in different forms which can alter the texture of baked goodies it really just adds sweetness, not flavour.
That was until I spotted a new Dark Muscovado sugar made in Mauritius by a brand called Natura Sugars. I brought it home, and ended up eating it straight out the bag, with a spoon. It is THAT good. Rich, dark, complex and dusky.

Remember when you discovered proper dark chocolate for the first time? This is like that. The real friggin’ deal. A total game-changer.

My general motto in life, is that if something tastes good on a spoon, it automatically tastes good in anything else. And this cake once again, proves my hypothesis (woah big word alert). The sugar takes it to a whole different level.

FYI ‘Muscovado’ means ‘unrefined’ in Spanish – although in Spanish they say ‘Mascabado’ – and Muscovado sugar was first crafted in Latin America several centuries ago.

 So, with my muse selected, I set out to create a cake to show off all the complex flavours of dark and light Muscovado sugar. Spices. Pecan nuts. Butter (always butter). A bit of cream cheese – okay, a lot of cream cheese,  and, of course, there had to be a Muscovado glaze; drippy cake glazes are, like, so in right now.
Sorry, but it’s hard to care about cake decorating trends when you know the cake is so delicious it’s not going to last long enough to be Instagrammed! 😉

Muscovado Cake with Pecans, Cream Cheese Frosting and Muscovado Glaze

Serves 8-10

 

4 large eggs

220g Natura Light Muscovado sugar

120ml buttermilk

120g butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

280g cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp salt

100g pecan nuts, finely chopped

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

50g Natura Dark Muscovado sugar

500g Natura Demerara Icing Sugar, sifted

100g butter, softened

250g full fat cream cheese*

 

Muscovado Glaze

50g Light Muscovado Sugar

50g Dark Muscovado Sugar

75g butter

125ml cream

 

To Serve

Crushed shortbread (I used chocolate-coated shortbread balls too)

Candied pecan nuts, crushed

Pecan praline shards (see Tip)

 

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Grease and line 4 x 20cm sandwich cake tins (or use two and slice the cake in half). In a stand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar until very light (almost white), thick and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla.  Pour this mixture into the egg mixture. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients and fold into the creamed mixture along with the chopped pecan nuts. Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sponge is golden brown on top and bounces back when pressed lightly.  Allow the cakes to cool completely, upside down, before unmoulding.  For the frosting, cream the butter, Muscovado and Demerara Icing sugar until light and very fluffy. Add the cream cheese and whip until very fluffy. To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until dissolved. Then bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute then set aside and allow to cool. Assemble the cake by layering the cake with the cream cheese frosting. To make layering easier, freeze the layers for 20-30 minutes before you begin assembling, this will make the cake more rigid and keep the frosting in place. Frost the sides of the cake, drizzle with the glaze, then decorate with pecan nuts, shortbread and extra frosting piped on top.

 

TIP If you’d like to create the pecan shards, place 1 cup of light Muscovado sugar in a saucepan with 1 tbsp water and simmer until melted and caramelized. Pour over a handful of pecan nuts scattered on a greased and lined baking tray. Allow to cool completely then break into shards. I also crushed some to toss onto the side of the cake.

This post has been sponsored by Natura Sugars who produce a range of really special sugars that are unrefined and made according to traditional Mauritian sugar-making techniques. The sugars are non-GM, non-irradiated and unbleached with no preservatives, colourants or syrups added which basically means they are pure, natural and packed with flavour! 

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