Maple Pecan Traveling Cake
Have cake, will travel - a new series on gâteaux de voyage.
I heard about gâteaux de voyage before, but they’ve been top of mind lately as I delve into my snack cake era. Able to withstand an afternoon drive or jostle on the subway, these are the types of cakes that get tucked in with a bottle of wine and cheese for a picnic or wrapped in beeswax to bring to a friend’s house.
Dating back to 17th century France, no trip was without a traveling cake. When journeys spanned weeks to months and refrigeration was nil, these simple cakes not only provided a sweet slice of comfort, but carried their own set of key characteristics:
Gâteaux de voyage must be easy to transport, stored at room temperature, and able to be served fuss-free. They need to get from point A to B - whether that be to the mountains, the city, or just one house to another - while remaining delicious. Often iced and transported in their pans, these are the types of cakes you can deliver via horse and buggy (as they once were) or on your lab in an Uber without fear of it falling over.
For this series, we will be making a new traveling cake each month. Think of a pound cake you might pack for after ski lessons or fruit-studded picnic cakes eaten out of hand in the summer. They will be similar to the crumb-topped loaves and glazed Bundts that have a semi-permanent fixture at the edge of my countertop - ready to be sliced and taken on the go or satiate weekend guests throughout the day.
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For the first recipe, we are making a Maple Pecan Cake with chocolate chunks. Maple is used in both the cake batter and for the frosting glaze. It is paired with toasted pecans, chunks of dark chocolate, cinnamon, and a sprinkle of flaky salt to finish. Crème fraîche keeps the cake extra tender and moist.
Definitely go for the dark chocolate here. 70% cacao is best. Made with regular chips, and it is almost too sweet. The cinnamon and salt in the glaze help balance out the sweet maple as well. Lastly, don’t skip toasting the pecans!
Thanks to modern transportation, even the maple glaze frosting will survive unscathed at its final destination. The glaze sets and dries on top so it is easy to wrap and take on the go. I recommend pouring the glaze while the cake is still in the pan and bringing the whole lot with you (even if it’s just to your own dining room).
This cake might be sliiightly messier than the early traveling cakes. That being said, you can still most definitely eat it without a fork and plate (I used less napkins with this cake than the s’mores cookies bars coming next week). Wait until the glaze has a chance to set a bit before slicing.
Or don’t! This cake is pretty irresistible and you’ll probably want to devour it immediately. I sure did!
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