Maple teff cake

February 25, 2013 § 5 Comments

maple teff cake slice

Intending only to purchase almonds and almond flour, I somehow managed to come home from the grocery store with a bag filled to the brim with specialty flours, including the teff flour in this maple teff cake. Probably most known for its role in the Ethiopian flatbread injera, teff deserves a spot in your pantry for its beautiful smoky brown color, satiny texture, and the nutty, complex flavor it brings to many baked goods, not just injera.

teff flour, maple sugar, browned butter

maple teff cake batter

While lingering in the grocery aisle dedicated to baking ingredients, I discovered maple sugar, and suddenly the idea hit: why not combine teff with maple? They both have slightly bitter undertones that round out the sweetness that one first notices, plus since teff flour creates a cake reminiscent of the bark of a maple tree, it seems perfectly suited to maple syrup and maple sugar. Finally, browned butter adds a hint of caramelized richness.

maple sugar

Much to my taste-tester’s disapproval (though he did clear his plate!), I cruelly added walnuts since the silky texture of teff flour requires a bit of heft to contrast it. My taste-tester did approve of the maple sugar topping, which made for a crunchy shell on the top that shatters pleasingly when cut — adding walnuts to the topping would be great for a breakfast or brunch version too, assuming you aren’t serving the nut-averse.

maple teff cake

Maple teff cake

Very loosely inspired by Bishop’s Bread

Makes sixteen slices


For the cake

  • 1/2 cup (eight tablespoons or 113 grams) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) teff flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Teff Flour)
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) whole wheat flour
  • One and 1/4 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • One cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • Two tablespoons maple sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • One large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I recommend Grade B for this cake)
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) buttermilk or clabbered milk (see note)

For the topping

  • Additional two tablespoons maple sugar, for dusting
  • Additional two tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius).

2. In a 9-inch square pan, combine the butter and walnuts, and toast in the heated oven for about seven minutes, or until the butter is golden brown and the nuts are toasted. Be careful not to let the butter or nuts burn! (Alternatively, this step can be done on the stovetop in a skillet, but then the baking tin will need to be buttered.) Set aside and let cool (about five minutes).

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, blend together the flours, sugars, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. If needed, take the time to make the clabbered milk (see note below).

4. Beat the egg and maple syrup together. Pour the melted browned butter and nuts into the dry mixture and then pour in the clabbered milk and beaten egg and maple syrup, stirring after each addition. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as teff flour seems especially fond of staying at the bottom of the bowl.

5. Pour the batter into the cake pan; smooth out the top with a spatula. Dust over an additional two tablespoons or so of maple sugar, and then with the additional chopped (untoasted) walnuts, if desired. Bake the cake for thirty-five minutes or until a tester comes out clean; do not overbake. Enjoy right away, warm, or later at room temperature.

The cake will keep, wrapped or in a tin, for up to four days.

Note: to make clabbered milk, pour a splash of white vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup, top it off with regular milk to the required volume.


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§ 5 Responses to Maple teff cake

  • Kiki says:

    Looks both interesting and delicious. I’ve never heard of either teff nor maple sugar, guess I have some reading up to do…

    • kristina says:

      I’m not certain how easy it is to order teff in Germany – in the UK it can be ordered from apparently, and found in health shops, but not sure otherwise.

      Maple sugar is apparently what happens when you boil the syrup so that all the water is gone. Sometimes we can find it here in the US and Canada in the form of little maple leaves, or (more rarely) pilgrims. It’s VERY sweet.

      If you can’t find teff flour, I think buckwheat flour (as Eileen suggests below) would be a nice substitute.

  • Eileen says:

    Interesting! I’ve seen teff itself around, but not teff flour. Now I may have to go seek some out. (Although I suppose I could mix it up with my only real specialty flour indulgence: buckwheat.) No walnuts at our house–at least in sweet things. In salads or pastas, that’s a whole other story. :)

    • kristina says:

      I’ve never seen teff itself, just the flour. Whole Foods carries it, as does my local health foods store. In DC there’s a pretty sizeable Ethiopian and Eritrean community so odds are I should be able to track it down. Maybe you can mill it yourself at the store where you saw it? Some stores have that option.

      As for nuts, my taste-tester reports that he only likes peanuts, and then only by themselves. Boo!

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