“You are the only ab workout I need,” Sandra gasped in a fit of laughter.
The three of us met twelve years ago. TWELVE YEARS AGO! One was a sloppy drinker, another an angsty teen scorned by the lack of beaches, and me, an intense bitch who rarely looked away from her drawing board. First impressions, though somewhat true, faded, and we bonded in a way that flourished all the way that stomach-cramping laughter in a colorful dining room and this cake…
The last of our trio to bid her 20s farewell, we convened to celebrate Nina’s “Dirty Thirty.” We had set out to spend each of our birthdays together despite living in different cities. One Garnets & Ganache dessert social, one Maple Syrup Festival and one Maker Date later, we had achieved sweet success! We laughed, we teared up, and we hugged our way into this third decade. I’m so proud of where we are, where we are going and how close we have become.
Thirty hasn’t fully sunk in for me yet, but sometimes I step back to appreciate the maturity and clarity we now mix with our old jokes and nostalgia. Our conversations have evolved to include mature topics we never imagined- relationship complexities, babies (holy F$%k!!!), home ownership (I’m only beginning to understand this)- all the twists and turns TWELVE years of trusted friendship brings. We have developed the confidence and closeness to inspire each other and tell each other how proud we are of one another. In short, we have grown together from girls to women.
For the girl who gave us the Maple Syrup Festival, for the thirty-year-old who makes 1,000s of positive things happen, I had this Chocolate Maple Pecan cake to give. I knew the birthday lady would give me a hard time if this cake did not include a boozy, whipped topping, so in between two layers of chocolate cake was a layer of a light, chocolate & Snap whipped cream.
Whole-Wheat Chocolate Maple Cake with Pecans
Yield: Makes a 2-layer, 9-inch cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 cup pure cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3/4 cups pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Turbinado raw sugar
2 large organic eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole-fat European style yogurt
Pecans for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch baking pan; line with parchment, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, maple syrup, and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of yogurt; beat until just combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top with an offset spatula.
Arrange pecans in circular pattern on the surface.
Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack to cool completely.
Maple & Snap Whipped Topping
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons pure cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 oz light cream cheese
1/8 cup AITA Snap liquor
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until well combined, light and airy. Keep chilled until ready to use.
Remove cake from pan and transfer to a plate. Use a serrated knife such as a bread knife to cut the cake into two layers.
Spoon the whipped topping onto the bottom layer of the cake. Use an offset spatula to smooth over the surface. Add the top layer, and serve!
Here’s to thirty years on this planet and twelve years together! xoxox