My husband calls me 'Breakfast Princess' and although that sounds like a cute pet name, he's really referring to the fact that I make breakfast for dinner about 3 times a week. Sometimes I make a quick healthy version of breakfast and other times I go all out. Many nights we have puffy Belgian waffles, and that's what inspired this cake!
The idea came to me after I'd made a batch of Cabin Waffles, and my 8-inch cake pans were sitting on the counter right beside them. I noticed the pans were just a little larger than the waffles, and so the Belgian Waffle Cake experiment began. I whipped up some maple syrup cake batter and baked the waffles in three cake layers. I was surprised at how evenly the cakes baked. The waffles placed in the centers of the pans discourage crowning, so no leveling is required!
You can find ready-made Belgian waffles in the freezer section at the grocery store, but I highly suggest making a batch of my Cabin Waffles (with buttermilk!). They are perfect in this cake. The tops of the waffles become crisp as the cake bakes. If your oven has a tendency to over-brown, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cake pan before baking.
I suggest using grade B maple syrup in this recipe. Grade B has bold maple flavor that holds up well through baking. You could use more maple syrup to cover the cakes, but I prefer to use the brand of pancake syrup I grew up eating. I am nothing if not sentimental.
I'd whipped up a batch of maple frosting for covering the cake, but it absolutely did not need any additional sweetness. Each cake is covered with pancake syrup before stacking, so the layers hold together well when sliced.
This cake is a true marriage of breakfast and dessert, and brings a whole new meaning to 'Eat Cake for Breakfast'. The maple cake is tender and the waffle center is slightly chewy, but soft enough to cut with a fork edge. It's lovely on its own but even more delicious with a cup of strong coffee, if you ask me.
Yields one triple 8-inch layer cake
Make the cake layers a day ahead of time (if time allows) and wrap well in plastic wrap. This will improve the texture of the cake and the waffles will become soft. If your oven has a tendency to over-brown, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cake pans to protect the waffles.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (110g) light brown sugar, packed
2 3/4 cups (345 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (310 ml) buttermilk (or 1 cup whole milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 prepared Belgian waffles (store-bought or see this recipe I use)
1 cup (250 ml) Pancake syrup or more or less to taste
1 pat of salted butter (about 1/2 tablespoon)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans, or spray them with flour-based baking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together until well combined. Beat in the maple syrup. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat to combine. Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Divide batter between the three prepared pans. Center a Belgian waffle in the batter in each pan; press it down into the batter slightly. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cover the cake pans with aluminum foil halfway through baking if the waffles begin to over-brown. When done, transfer pans to a wire rack to cool.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover the cake with 1/4 cup pancake syrup. Add a second layer and repeat; top with the final layer and pour the remaining syrup on top. Place pat of butter in the center of the top layer.
Store covered in plastic wrap.