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Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes one 2-layer 9-inch round cake

2 ¾ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for pans
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sour cream

2 (8-ounce) packages full fat cream cheese, softened
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup gingersnap crumbs (from about 5 to 6 cookies)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until combined. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour and sour cream alternately, beginning and ending with flour, mixing until smooth.
4. Divide batter between cake pans, smoothing tops and bake until pale golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 28 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto wire rack and cool completely.
5. Once cakes are cool, make frosting: In the clean bowl of an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add maple syrup, maple extract, and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Reserve about a ½ cup of frosting for piping decorations.
6. Assemble the cake: With a serrated knife using a sawing motion, trim off the tops of each cake layer to make it level. Place the bottom layer, cut side up, on a serving plate or cake stand and spread with about ¾ cup of frosting. Stack the top layer, cut side down, on top of frosting. Spread the top and sides of the cake with remaining frosting. Using a large star tip and the reserved frosting, pipe stars around the top of the cake. Sprinkle gingersnap crumbs over the top.

*Note: Instead of topping with gingersnap crumbs, you could use 5 ounces (1 1/3 cups) of chopped pecans, pressing them into the sides of the cake. Really like pecans? Add some to the cake itself, stirring in ¾ cup (3 ounces) at the end of step 3. You could also throw in some raisins at this point too, if you like that sort of thing.

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