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A Southwest Summer: Sierra Maple Cakes

A Southwest Summer: Sierra Maple Cakes
A Southwest Summer: Sierra Maple Cakes
Chef Larry Edwards/Casa de Cuisine

Okay, here is a little geography lesson. When one is talking (or writing) about the range of mountains in the American west, it is the Sierra, never the Sierra's. It is only singular as there is only one range. Okay, geography lesson is now over. If you have not yet experienced the absolute beauty of the Sierra, you owe it to yourself to visit. I have traveled all over the world but I still don't think there is a more beautiful sight than coming down highway 50 through the Sierra and getting that first glimpse of Lake Tahoe. If it doesn't take your breath away, call the coroner because you have passed-away.

When I had my restaurant on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, my Sous Chef and I created many dishes as a culinary homage to this gorgeous area. Most of the dishes centered on the best damn trout in the world (found in both Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River) and a few were desserts. This dessert, Sierra Maple Cakes, were a favorite of our patrons. We always topped the cake with our famous homemade ice creams but everyone always commented on the texture. No one could ever figure out what we did to give the cake its original texture. Well, for the very first time, I will divulge that secret. We simply added toasted sesame seeds to the batter.

Ingredients needed to make Sierra Maple Cakes (makes 6 individual cakes):

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 Tbs. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 and spray 6 mini-bundt cake pans with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and nutmeg.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set the bowl aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and pale. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until well combined.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture and the toasted sesame seeds.
  6. Add half of the egg whites and stir them into the batter.
  7. Add the other half of the egg whites and fold them into the batter.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Place the pans on a baking sheet and then place them into the oven and bake about 45 minutes or until done.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool on a rack until ready to serve.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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