Maple Ginger Cakes with Brown Butter Caramel – A Vintage Recipe Swap!

Maple Ginger Cakes - a Burwell General Store Recipe Swap!

This is a very special post for this little Dusty Baker.

One year ago, I started this blog.  I had been blogging on another site, which housed a wider range of aspects of the holistic health industry as I pulled out of another bout of Lyme Disease.  I wanted to focus on recipes, and writing, and how baking could connect me to other aspects of my art and to the art itself that is baking.  

Also one year ago, on the other side of the country, Christianna of Burwell General Store and Lindsay of Rosemarried started a recipe swap, comparing their takes on vintage recipes.  That group grew into an incredible community of food bloggers who monthly change at least 3 aspects of a recipe that Christianna sends to us, and then we all post at the same time and exchange blogging love.  I don’t quite remember if I found out about the swap from Lindsay or Toni over at Boulder Locavore – I found and fell in love with their blogs around the same time, in April of last year.  All I know is that I feel very fortunate to be a part of this little group.

These bloggers have become teachers, inspiring me by their personal focus in the food world, their varying levels of culinary expertise and their love for what they do, both in and out of the kitchen.  Through them I get to feel the seasons change all over the world (we have several overseas swappers!), and how that effects what we’re all making and how we’re nourishing our bodies.  I get little glimpses into the lives of passionate, creative and sometimes exhausted people.  All because of our shared love for food.

Burwell Swappers, you rock my world.  Happy Birthday to Christianna, Lindsay, Toni, Chef Dennis, Sabrina, Lora, Mari, Shari, Monique, Pola, Linda, Alli, Barb, Priya, Lana, Shumalia, Claire, Jamie, Jaclyn and Alex (did I miss anyone?!!?).  And welcome to the new swappers Eda, Julia and JoAnn who are contributing this month! Please click on the link at the bottom of this post to check out their contributions, read more about their blogs at the Burwell General Store and, if you’re the tweeting sort, follow our Burwell Swappers list on Twitter.

When sending us the recipe for this month, Christianna asked us to ponder where our lives have traveled this past year, what we’re thankful for and what we want to celebrate with this post.

It’s been an interesting year: at points I’ve had less money than I’ve had in my entire life and questioned my decision to not have a “boss” and to work only freelance.  I took on the responsibility of managing my family business, and continue to learn just what it means to be a boss.  Through this blog I’ve met some incredible people,  been asked to participate in live food events, and developed the voice that brought me to writing for the NYC food blog Bromography and now doing research and writing for Easy Eats, an incredible gluten-free digital magazine that as an eater I am very excited about and am particularly thrilled to be contributing to. I did a few shows, meeting insanely talented, big-hearted people.  I fell in love, then had my heart broken for the first time.  I got a dog!  Projects that I’ve dreamed of creating have come into reality.  I’ve met teachers who are so far above me in the food world, and seem to see some glimmer of potential in what I have to contribute.  I am still relatively healthy after my third bout of Lyme, and my family are all close by and well.  It’s been a weird, hard year, but I have so much to be thankful for.

So in celebrating the anniversary of my blog and the birthday of the Burwell General Store swap, I’m doing a Thanks-GiveAway!  For the month of November, I’ll be hosting discussions, comments, sharing the recipes of others and asking readers to follow the lovely bloggers who are the filling to my macarons.  And in thanks I’ll send a few readers each two copies of some of my favorite gluten-free cookbooks, one to keep for themselves and one to give as a holiday gift to a baker they love.  Along with a few of my favorite things.

For information on the giveaway, CLICK HERE.

Now, this month we were given a Maple Syrup Cake to swap, which overjoyed me as I love baking with maple syrup and go through jugs of the stuff far too often.  After last month’s Millet Coconut Breakfast Pudding  I decided I didn’t want to change too much of this recipe, I just wanted to make a really delicious gluten-free take on these cakes.

My first go-around I adapted the recipe by cutting the white sugar completely, substituting with my gluten-free flour blend and adding some chopped ginger.  I used 3 teaspoons of soda as gluten-free flour sometimes need the extra lift.  And I added some chopped candied ginger along with increased the amount of spices in the cake.  The cakes were so-so.  A bit to baking soda-y and not sweet enough, even for me.  And a little dry.

So the second go around I added back in a bit of the sugar (palm), even more ginger, and some pumpkin, to give a little extra moisture. I also made a quick caramel sauce to serve on top.

The result? Um, yum!! These are incredibly moist little cakes.  The pumpkin isn’t a feature as much as the ginger and spice, but it provides great body.  The texture of the candied ginger suits the soft cake perfectly.  These would be divine as a special breakfast treat, or made in regular cupcake tins and topped with pumpkin or cream cheese frosting.

Going on my list as one of my favorite cakes.  Thanks, again, Burwell Swappers.

Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Burwell Swappers!


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/3 cup palm sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup maple syrup (I used one from Vermont, which I love.  Always try to keep it as close to home as possible, and luckily that’s not a problem in New England)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour with xanthan gum (if using a mix without xanthan gum, add 1 1/4 Tbsp to the flour)
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped


Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour cake pan of choice.

In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients up to ginger.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk atatchment (or in bowl with hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until smooth.  Add pumpkin and continue to beat until combined.  Add maple syrup, and beat until smooth.

Alternate the flour and hot water, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing on low, until all are incorporated, occassionally wiping down the sides of bowl.

Stir in the candied ginger.

Pour equally into prepared pans.  My cakes took 24 minutes to bake, a larger cake will take about 35.

For the brown butter caramel:

Brown 2 Tbsp unsalted butter on medium heat until golden.  Whisk in 2 Tbsp maple syrup and 1 Tbsp light brown sugar, and whisk until smooth.  Immediately pour over cakes and serve.


  1. rosemarried says:

    Gosh, what a special post indeed! Happy year anniversary of your blog, and we’re so (SO) glad that you’re part of our swap. I love your blog, and even though I can eat gluten I’ve learned so much from you. I love your passion for baking your writing voice, photos and more.

  2. What a great addition you’ve been to this swap! Congratulations on your one year blog anniversary as well. You’ve done so many things and continue to bring so much light to what you endeavor. Being a Gluten Free Sister, I especially appreciate your food sensibility. You are living large without letting gluten take the reins of your journey. This recipe redo sounds so perfect for the season too. I love everything about it. We were on a similar thought process I think!

  3. Rachel says:

    Adapting a recipe to be gluten free and short on sugar has got to be the ultimate challenge. It’s truly a testament to their greatness that these cakes are going on your list of favorites! I love the cute shape and the pumpkin, of course. Great recipe!

  4. Caffay Way says:

    Very inspiring to read that you too the leap to doing freelance only… something I dream of doing one day. Your treats also look very good! I am glad to have become a part of the recipe swap group, what an amazing list of posts I have been reading this evening.

  5. Alli says:

    Such a great idea to add pumpkin and ginger. Sounds so warm and spicy. And topped with brown butter caramel?! This is a little package of everything anyone could need! I must try making the brown butter caramel…such a great idea.

  6. Priya says:

    You have to be one of the most inspirational ladies I’ve come across. Love Ginger and this combination sounds awesome :)

  7. Lana says:

    I am so thankful to Christianna who put us all together! I enjoyed very much reading about your experiences in the previous year – it’s always rewarding for me when I manage to build a life behind a face on the blog’s about page:)
    I love the energy that flows through your posts as if they were sprinkled with fairy dust.
    I have to confess that I have never even thought of using candied ginger outside of a sushi place (my husband abhors the stuff), but as I love ginger in anything, I can only imagine how much flavor these little cakes have.

  8. Lisa says:

    Happy Birthday to Burwell, and what a way to celebrate with those gorgeous baby bundts. The brown butter caramel sounds simply insane! Can’t wait to try it! Great take on a recipe of yore!

    BTW, turns out I have 3 bags of the dried goji berries, and you’re right – pricey!! lol

  9. Kim Bee says:

    Your post had me close to tears. It is so heartfelt and touching. It’s so funny how life leads us down unexpected roads but ones we were meant to travel all along. I am so pleased to join you guys this month. I can’t even put into words how excited I am to be a part of this amazing group. I keep waiting for Christianna to email me and say it was a mistake. Lol. I love that you made your cake with brown butter caramel. It’s a beautiful cake.

    • Aw, thanks Kim, that’s so beautiful, thank you truly. I am so glad you joined as well – no mistakes here!! Cheers to another great swapping year of good food friends and kitchen adventures!

  10. Jacqueline, This is a terrific post from start to finish! You’ve paid great homage to your baking buddies and your summary of the past year shows a time of perseverance and triumph. The Maple Ginger Cakes with the gorgeous caramel looks divine and perfectly executed. May you & yours enjoy this holiday. Cheers!

  11. Shumaila says:

    Finally I get the time to get around to what the Swappers were upto last month! Beautiful post and Happy Blogiversary! I have never tried gluten-free baking, but you inspire me to do so!

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