Acorn Cakelets

I LOVE Nordic Ware cake pans! They are so well made and come in a multitude of different designs. My favourites are the Fall Harvest collection as they are designed for people who love Autumn!

Acorn cakelet pan

I’ve found them in Homesense and of course, on Amazon and I’ve collected a few of them over the years. The only trouble I have, (perfectionist that I am), is the little holes you get when you bake the cakes, spoiling the detail. I have experimented with various recipes, starting with the one that comes with the pan, meticulously brushing all the little nooks with butter, banging tins before they go into the oven but still seeing those annoying little holes!

Acorn cakelet pan1

As far as preparing the tin goes, I have buttered, buttered and floured and used cake release spray and can honestly say the best result came from using none of them! I really do think you have to have faith in the non-stick. I definitely have less holes when I don’t use anything. I think the butter can gather in the little crevices and then when the cakes bake, the butter creates steam and you can get little holes.

I also pipe the mixture in, that way you can really make sure the batter fills the little details from the bottom up.

As you will see from these photos, there are still some troublesome holes present, but mostly, they have come out smooth. I am still working on the perfect, hole-free recipe!

Acorn Cakelet collection

Below are three different flavours, all based on the same original recipe and each one is enough to fill the pan twice. Chocolate, Maple Spice and Spiced Pumpkin. My family liked the chocolate ones the best.

They are the perfect little snack and can be decorated with a glaze, sprinkles, or sandwiched together with a spiced buttercream.

Acorn Cakelets

Chocolate Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
125g plain/all-purpose flour
65g cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1.5tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
120ml whole milk
85g pure maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp coffee extract
115g butter at room temperature
75g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Combine the milk, maple syrup, vanilla and coffee extract in a small bowl and stir together.

Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. I use my stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then with the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and alternate with the liquid mixture until everything is combined.

If you add the milk mixture straight to the eggs, it will curdle horribly. However, it will come back when you add the flour, so don’t worry. Mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth, but don’t over-mix as the cakelets will become tough.

Pile the batter into a piping bag. I use disposable ones and just cut a little hole in the bottom. Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full. Pipe the batter so the holes are filled from the bottom up to try and avoid holes in your little acorns.

Give the pan a rap on the worktop – I don’t know if this really helps expel air but every little helps!

Bake for around 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack to fully cool if you are decorating, or you can serve them warm with coffee.

Chocolate acorn cakelet

Maple Spice Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
190g plain/all-purpose flour
0.5tsp baking powder
0.5tsp salt
2tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
120ml whole milk
85g pure maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp maple extract
115g butter at room temperature
50g soft brown sugar
20g dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Combine the milk, maple syrup, vanilla and maple extract in a small bowl and stir together.

Beat the butter and sugars together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then with the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and alternate with the liquid mixture until everything is combined.

Pile the batter into a piping bag and just cut a little hole in the bottom. Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full and bang the pan to level the batter and expel any air.

Bake for around 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack.

Maple acorn cakelet

Spiced Pumpkin Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
200g plain/all-purpose flour
200g pumpkin puree
0.5tsp baking powder
0.5tsp salt
2tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
0.25tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1tsp vanilla extract
115g butter at room temperature
80g soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then beat in the pumpkin.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until everything is combined.

Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full and bang the pan to level the batter and expel any air.

Bake for around 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I found the pumpkin ones took a little longer than the others to be fully baked.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack.

Pumpkin acorn cakelet

Autumn Spiced Pumpkin Friands

These seasonal little tea cakes are made with pumpkin, spice and topped with a crunchy oatmeal streusel and a little maple glaze. They are full of autumn spices and the perfect addition to an autumn picnic, afternoon tea, or an after school snack. I also like to pop them into lunchboxes.

Pumpkin friands

Friands are so easy to make and there are so many variations to try and I think I will add a few raisins to these next time.

Ingredients:
6 large egg whites
250g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
100g plain flour
Zest of half an orange
1tbs pumpkin pie spice
160g melted butter, plus a little extra for brushing the friand tin
½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree

Streusel:
1tbsp butter
2tbsp plain flour
tbsp rolled oats
1tbsp soft brown sugar
½tsp cinnamon

Maple Glaze:
½ cup sieved icing sugar
2-3tbs maple syrup – enough to thin

Pumpkin Friand1

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/approx 350°F and brush the friand tin with a little melted butter.

I make my friands in a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, but they can be made just as easily by hand or using a hand mixer.

Briefly whisk the egg whites, breaking them up until they are frothy.

Add the ground almonds, pumpkin puree, zest, butter, icing sugar and then fold in the flour until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, leaving a little room for the streusel.

Pumpkin Friand

Scatter a little of the streusel over each one and bake for 25-30 minutes, until they have risen, turned golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Pumpkin Friand slice

Leave to rest for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before adding a little glaze.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies are full of pumpkin, spice and chocolate chunks. Just the thing for an after school snack with a glass of cold milk.

Pumpkin cookies

The cookies puff up like pillows in the oven and are super soft and chewy, but with a crisp edge.

Ingredients:
1½ cups soft brown sugar lightly packed
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup vegetable oil
1 extra large egg
2 cups of plain/all-purpose flour
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 tsps baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups good quality milk chocolate chunks or chips

pumpkin cookie

Method:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, pumpkin, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

In another bowl, sieve the flour, spice, baking powder, soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and then stir in the chocolate.

Let the mixture chill out for 30 minutes in the fridge, this will help the mixture firm up a little.

Pre-heat the oven to to 180°C/350°F

Using a small ice cream scoop, or a spoon, add equally sized balls of dough onto the sheet. Take care to leave room for the cookies to spread out as they bake. Flatten out the balls a little and bake for 12-15 minutes.

They will puff up and grow as they bake. These are soft and chewy cookies, so don’t over-bake. Leave to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Pumpkin cookie hand

They are lovely warm from the oven, but will get even chewier if you let them sit for a while. This recipe makes around 18 cookies, depending on how big you make them, so make sure you save some for the next day, when the flavours and texture will be even better.

Pumpkin cookie napkin