CHOCOLATE-GLAZED MAPLE SPICE CAKE
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
3/4 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
1 1/2 - 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 heaping Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
Whole walnuts, to garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat three 8 x 2-inch round layer-cake pans with shortening; dust with flour, discarding excess.
Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in bowl.
Beat shortening in second bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar and maple syrup. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Add maple flavor; beat until smooth. On low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then milk, then remaining flour mixture.
Spread batter in prepared pans, dividing evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 28 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes directly to rack to cool completely.
Beat cream cheese, butter, and maple flavor in bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat until good spreading consistency.
Place cake layer on serving dish. Top with 1-1/4 cups filling. Place second cake layer on top, then remaining 1-1/4 cups filling. Top with third layer.
In saucepan, heat cream just to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and cocoal in small bowl; whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and stir. Cool 5 minutes, until thicker but still pourable. Pour over cake, spreading to allow some to dribble down sides. Top with walnuts.
Refrigerate 15 minutes before serving.
For sparkly walnuts, brush with corn syrup; dust with gold sanding sugar, available at: countrykitchensa.com.