Sunday, December 4, 2011

I am determined to get BCS3 wrapped up!

Sigh. We're over a month into Bundt Cake Season 4 and I still haven't finished the posts for Bundt Cake Season 3! Demerits for me. I'm officially four (yes, four!) cakes behind: two for Season 3 and two for Season 4. Also, National Bundt Cake Day went by without any recognition from me. I'd feel worse about that, but November is when all hell breaks out at work, so getting much done outside of that is really just not going to happen.

But let's try to get back on track, shall we?

Monday, October 31, 2011


Yes, yes, I know I haven't wrapped up BSC3 yet, but once the power came back on (yes, I was among the hundreds of thousands of people without power thanks to the October 29th storm), I took that as a clear sign that it was time to get the Bundt Cake Season show on the road.

So, for the record, the first bundt cake of Bundt Cake Season 4 is a Lemon Ginger Cake. Recipe and analysis to follow at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An interlude between Bundt Cake Seasons

On Friday, I did a little pre-season bundting. (Yes, I know I haven't wrapped up BCS3 yet, even though it ended back in June. I still have two cakes to tell you about. I'll get to it sometime, you know, before the beginning of BCS4). The Main Squeeze and I were going to be visiting friends on Saturday and I wanted to bring the Red Velvet Mini Bundts that were so awesome from BCS3. So, I busted out my mini bundt pans and my Kiss My Bundt cookbook.

For some reason, the cakes weren't as tasty this time. The Main Squeeze and I agreed that they simply weren't chocolate-y enough. And I even added a little extra of the fancy Dutch-processed cocoa. The recipe only calls for one tablespoon, which seems like a tiny amount, but I'm sure that's what I put in last time. So, the next time I make these, I'm going to *at least* double to cocoa powder.

I didn't have time to go to the grocery store to buy ingredients, so I got what I needed from the local natural food store and fancy convenience store downtown. Unfortunately, this meant only regular cream cheese for the cream cheese frosting, and I have to say that I really prefer the neufchatel, at least for this cake. The tanginess of the neufchatel works really well with the tanginess of the cake itself. If, in the future, I only have regular cream cheese, I might just cut down on the sugar and maybe put in a little buttermilk for extra tang.

In the meantime, I'm just going to sit here and be a little perplexed about the fact that although I followed the recipe the same way each time, this time they weren't as fabulous.

Go figure.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bundt Cake #17 of Bundt Cake Season 3: "Pretty in Pink" Chiffon Cake

I'm changine the publishing date for this, the final BCS3 cake, so that it falls with the rest of the cakes from this season (like I did with the 2nd to last cake). Even though that technically throws off the order of when I wrote the posts, I think it just makes the most sense to have all the BCS3 cakes together.

I extended Bundt Cake Season 3 into June, which is well past when it normally should have ended (remember part of the reason Bundt Cake Season is a season is so that one isn't baking--especially cakes that take a long time--during the warm months of the year), because I wanted to make this cake and I needed strawberries to be in season.

I never would have thought to "bundt" this recipe, if The Food Librarian hadn't mentioned in one of her posts that when she looks at cake recipes, she asks herself if she could bundt it. That totally opened up bundt cake possibilities in my mind. Especially since this cake is supposed to be made in a tube pan, I figured a bundt pan would be a perfectly reasonable substitute. Then, I just had to wait until June, for New England's short-lived strawberry season.

This cake was delicious! I think I may be making one late bundt cake for many years to come, so that I can make this during future strawberry seasons. It's a strawberry-lemon chiffon cake (my first chiffon cake), which means it's the sort of cake you have to be careful doesn't fall on you. I don't know if my cake rose as much as it was supposed to, but the texture was light and airy, so I think it turned out well. And the flavor was amazing! Exactly what you want on an early summer day, when strawberries are in season. Oh, and did I mention it has a delightful strawberry sauce?

On quick note on making the cake. I think in an earlier post that called for separated eggs I was all, "people say that room-temperature eggs are hard to separate, but I didn't have any problems." Yeah, not this time. I lost two eggs. And this cake calls for seven egg whites! So, it pained me to waste two eggs. Speaking of which, this recipe only calls for 2 egg yolks, so I ended up tossing 5 yolks, which was incredibly difficult for a woman raised to abhor wasting food. So, if anyone has a recipe that calls for just egg yolks, please let me know! And next time I make this cake, I'm going to follow the advice this cookbook has in their angel food cake recipe, which recommends separating the eggs while they're cold, and then letting the whites come up to room temperature (because they whip up better at room temperature).

Cake Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large egg yolks
7 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup strained pureed fresh (or frozen) strawberries*
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel

* They recommend using a strainer to drain any excess liquid so you have a thick, smooth sauce, but I don't think I needed to do this.

Strawberry Sauce Ingredients:
(This sauce is really just sugared strawberries with lemon juice. But it's A) delicious and B) and key part of the cake.)
2 cups sliced fresh (or frozen) strawberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
sugar to taste


I reversed the second and third steps so that I could beat the egg whites in my stand mixer, and then I transferred them to another bowl. Then I mixed the other ingredients in the stand mixer. But I'll give you the directions as they appear in the book, and you can figure out what method you prefer.

Preheat the oven to 325. Oil and lightly dust the cake pan with flour (I used baking spray, instead.)

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil and egg yolks--but don't mix yet.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft and foamy. Add the cream of tartar and confectioner's sugar and continue to beat until stiff by not dry. (I think I had a small issue here, so I'd recommend waiting until the egg whites are closer to stiff--not just "foamy"--before adding the sugar and cream of tartar.) Without washing the beaters, beat the flour and oil mixture at low speed. Gradually add the pureed strawberries, lemon juice, and lemon peel, beating until just blended.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold a small portion of the egg white mixture into the batter. Then in five or six additions, fold the batter into the egg whites. The batter will be light and bubbly, with some egg whites showing. (I think I may have over-mixed the batter & egg whites, so be careful of that.)

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 350 and continue to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake is well risen and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cake bakes, combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Allow the sauce to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

When the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and cool it upright in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack. When the cake is cool to the touch, gently lift it onto a serving plate and cool completely.

Cut the cake into wedges with a serrated knife and serve each piece topped with a generous 1/4 of strawberry sauce, and, if you like, whipped cream. (You can see that I skipped the whipped cream. It really wasn't necessary.)

I want a slice right now!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bundt Cake #16 of Bundt Cake Season 3: Cabernet Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Red Wine Glaze

OK. Bundt Cake Season 3 has to be wrapped up! This has gotten ridiculous. I'm going to make the publishing date for this post (and the final BCS3 one) so that they fall with the rest of the cakes from this season. Let's hope that once I get caught up on BCS4, I stay on track! Sheesh.

My Mom came to visit me in May. I had had surgery at the beginning of the month and was still in recovery mode. While she was here, I definitely wanted to make sure we made a bundt cake together. Which also meant that I got to use my new bundt pan! Wheee! I handed her the various bundt cookbooks, and after identifying a couple that she wanted to try, we decided on the Cabernet Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Glaze from Kiss My Bundt.

Originally, I thought that we'd make the cake sometime on Saturday, but we ran out of time
(what with seeing Bridesmaids and the fact that I was taking two-hour naps as part of my recovery). Luckily, her flight out on Sunday wasn't too early, so we whipped up the cake that morning. Which worked out well, because it provided the perfect opportunity to use up the leftover strawberry champagne from the previous week's Strawberry Champagne Mini Bundts by making strawberry mimosas! Doesn't everyone like to drink and bake?

This cake actually has two toppings. In addition to the delicious Blackberry Red Wine Glaze, it also calls for either a chocolate glaze or chocolate ganache. I asked my mom which she wanted to make, and she decided on the glaze. Next time, I'd definitely go for the ganache instead. In part, I think that my new bundt pan doesn't lend itself well to glazes, because the sharp ridges don't offer the glaze much to cling to. But also, the blackberry red wine glaze does a nice job of soaking into the cake a bit, but the chocolate one just kind of ran off, whereas, a ganache, which is thicker would stick better to the cake, and then you'd get the full benefit of the chocolate flavor. Also? I used maybe a third of the chocolate glaze (the rest has been sitting in my fridge forever. I keep tasting it, and it's still good, I just haven't found a use for it yet).

The cake itself was deliciously moist and chocolatey. And that Blackberry Red Wine Glaze? So delicious! I think it was my favorite thing about the cake. I should definitely find other uses for it, so I have an excuse to make it in the future.

Here's the recipe:

Cabernet Chocolate Cake


1 3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup high-fat cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk (I used 1% as usual, since that's what I have on hand)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or other dry red wine) (I used a Spanish red we had, it worked well.)

Cake directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

With the mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients to the wet, 1/2 cup at a time. Do this slowly so that the batter doesn't develop clumps. (Do not overmix.)

Combine the water and wine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Slowly mix boiled water & wine mixture into the batter. Note: the batter will be thin.

Transfer batter to cake pan that has been coated with baker's cooking spray. Filing it 3/4 full.

Bake care until an inserted toothpick or cake tester come out clean - about 45 minutes for a regular bundt pan.

Invert cake onto a cooling rack or serving plate. If cake resists, cool in the pan for 15 minutes before trying again. If the cake still resists, cool in the pan for an additional 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting, at least an hour.

Drizzle blackberry glaze (recipe below) over the cooled chocolate cake.

Pour warm chocolate ganache or chocolate glaze (recipe below) over blackberry glazed cake.

This is the cake sans either glaze.

Blackberry Red Wine Glaze


4 tablespoons seedless blackberry fruit spread or preserves
1/3 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or other dry red wine)


In a small saucepan, whisk wine and blackberry preserves over medium heat.

Once incorporated, bring mixture to a boil and boil for one minute (this helps thicken the glaze).

Remove from heat and let mixture cool for 3 minutes.

Spoon over chocolate cake.

Dark Chocolate Glaze


3/4 cup unsalted butter
6 ounces premium dark chocolate finely chopped or grated (I used dark chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons corn syrup


In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter.

Remove pan from heat and mix chocolate into the butter, stirring until chocolate is completely melted.

Add corn syrup and whisk to a smooth glaze.

Let the mixture sit for 1 or 2 minutes to allow glaze to thicken slightly before drizzling over cake.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bundt Cake #15 of Bundt Cake Season 3: Strawberry Champagne Mini Bundts with Strawberry Champagne Buttercream Frosting

I have dubbed these bundt cakes "the bundt cakes that keep on giving." In addition to the bundt cakes themselves, a couple of leftover ingredients were turned into a cocktail and a cookie. respectively. (I'll be including those recipes too.)

Back in May when I was on a roll updating this blog, I was drawn to this recipe as I flipped past it (I was looking for the recipes for previous bundt cakes), and decided that it had to be made. I was a bit hesitant to use a good champagne (or proseco, as you're much more likely to find in our home) in a cake, but then I came up with a perfect solution. You see, the Main Squeeze's dad routinely gives me a bottle of strawberry champagne for Christmas (which makes excellent strawberry mimosas, but I can only drink so many of those) and I had acquired a collection of them. I figured that strawberry champagne would work delightfully in this recipe (and, truth be told, I was hoping for a delicate pink colored cake--which, unfortunately, didn't happen).

It was with this cake that I also learned that I am not a fan of buttercream frosting. It's just too sweet for me (and maybe too rich)--in a way that cream cheese frosting is not. It's funny, because I am a fan of butter. But not, as it turns out, buttercream frosting.

The bundt cakes themselves were delicious. On a couple of mornings I had half a mini bundt for breakfast, they were that good.

If you don't have a bottle of strawberry champagne at home, please feel free to use your favorite type of bubbly.

Here's the recipe from Kiss My Bundt by Chrysta Wilson

Champagne Syrup (for the cake and the frosting)
1/2 cup champagne or sparking wine (I, of course, used strawberry champagne)
1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • In a small saucepan, bring champagne and sugar to a boil.
  • Once the sugar dissolves, and the mixture is clear, boil an additional minute.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer to a heat-safe bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool. You have to cool the syrup before adding it to the batter or frosting.

Cake Ingredients
2 1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup champagne or sparkling wine
3/4 cup whole milk (I just used low-fat milk and it worked fine)
5 tablespoons champagne syrup


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift flour and baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
  • Beat butter until soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Slowly add the sugar. Mix for about 2 minutes.
  • Crack eggs into a separate bowl and add to the batter one at a time. Then beat on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Combine vanilla, champagne, and milk. The mild will start to curdle. Don't worry this is normal. The acidity of the champagne and the carbonation are reacting with the dairy.
  • Beginning and ending with the flour, mix 1/3 of the flour into the wet mixture, then 1/2 of the milk, alternating until all ingredients are mixed.
  • Fold 5 tablespoons of champagne syrup into the batter.
  • Transfer batter to cake pan(s) that have been coated with baker's cooking spray, filling until cavity is 3/4 full.
  • Bake cake(s) until an inserted toothpick or cake tester (I just use a table knife) comes out clean. A regular-sized bundt should take about 40 minutes and 18-22 minutes for mini bundts.
  • Invert cake(s) onto a cooling rack or serving plate. If cake resists, cool in pan for 15 minutes
  • and try again. If it still being stubborn wait an additional 15 minutes.
  • Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Champagne Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 2 1/2 tablespoons of champagne syrup*
  • With an electric mixer, cream butter on medium speed.
  • Turn mixer speed to low, then slowly add powdered sugar.
  • When sugar is fully incorporated, add vanilla.
  • Then add champagne syrup starting with 1 teaspoon and using up to 2 1/2 tablespoons to thin frosting to spreading consistency.* Mix on a medium speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
* I used a *lot* more than 2 1/2 tablespoons of the champagne syrup. And I could have used more, so I'd recommend starting with a tablespoon and adding a tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you like. Personally, I just ended up pouring a whole bunch in. And didn't end up with a too-thin frosting. I also wanted the frosting to be pink (because of the strawberry champagne syrup) and when I didn't get that from the syrup itself, I added a little red food coloring to get the desired color.

Because I felt that the buttercream frosting overwhelmed the delicateness of the cakes, I only iced seven of them. When I make these cakes in the future, I'll either leave them plain--they were delicious unadorned--or I'll make a champagne glaze. I wouldn't use the champagne syrup in the glaze, because that would be too sweet. Instead I think I'd use the following recipe (that I've made up based on other glazes I've made, but have no idea if it'd work/be tasty).

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon of butter, softened
2 to 4 tablespoons of champagne (in this case, strawberry champagne)

  • In a small bowl, combine sugar and butter. Add champagne gradually to achieve desired consistency and stir until smooth.
  • I would expect this glaze to have a slightly pink hue from the strawberry champagne, which I think would be lovely.
* * *

As I mentioned earlier, I ended up with some leftover ingredients from these mini bundts, namely Champagne Syrup and Champagne Buttercream Frosting. Never one to let something like that to go to waste, I quickly came up with ways to use both.

When my mom came to visit me the following weekend, I mixed us up a couple of cocktails with the leftover champagne syrup (which kept just fine in the fridge). I got the idea for the cocktail from one of my favorites, which is the French 75, which is a combination of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, & champagne. I wanted to add a fresh herb, and originally thought of mint (which I think would be delicious), but wanted something a little different. I asked the Main Squeeze if he thought rosemary would work, and he said yes--especially since he's heard of a rosemary strawberry shortcake. So that decided that.

I'll give you the recipe I used, and then the tweaked version I'd use the next time. I started by muddling some fresh rosemary in the bottom of a Boston-style shaker, to which I added ice. Then I put in an ounce of strawberry champagne syrup and an ounce of Beefeater gin. I shook those with the ice until everything was quite chilled, and strained the contents into a old-fashioned glass (so a short one, not a tall one), topped with seltzer, added some of the crushed rosemary from the shaker, stirred it, and added a bunch of crushed ice.

The Main Squeeze tasted it and suggested that given the flavors of the rosemary and strawberry that a gin with more botanicals would work even better. We actually own such a gin, Ethereal Gin, a limited edition put out by Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Great Barrington, MA. So I used that in the second one I made, and it was delicious. So, should you want to make this cocktail yourself, a straight-up gin is fine, but if you have one with stronger botanical flavors, I recommend using that.

I didn't think to take a picture until *after* the ice had melted, but you get the general idea.

The only problem with the drink was that it was a little too sweet, so the next time, I'd cut down on the champagne syrup and add a splash of strawberry champagne to get the same level of strawberry champagne flavor. Also, the little rosemary leaves weren't so pleasant, so I'd leave them on the stem and just add a fresh sprig to the drink. Here's the (untested) revised version.

Fill an old-fashioned glass with crushed ice
In a a cocktail shaker, muddle a sprig or two (depending on size) of fresh rosemary
Add ice to shaker
Add 1 ounce gin (preferably one with a strong botanical flavor)
Add 1/2 ounce of strawberry champagne syrup
Shake until your hand is very cold
Strain into the glass.
Add a generous splash of strawberry champagne
Top with seltzer to taste
Stir and add a sprig of rosemary

* * *

As for the extra strawberry buttercream frosting, I thought it was good, I just didn't particularly like it on the cake, and I didn't want it to go to waste. I thought of something I had done years ago to use up extra frosting: make fancy "oreos"--so chocolate wafer sandwich cookies with frosting in between. I decided against buying pre-made chocolate wafer cookies and instead thought I'd try my hand at making some from scratch.

I found a recipe online on JoyofBaking .com. The cookies were very tasty (and as crumbly as the recipe author warned) but weren't quite as thin as I might have liked. I think next time I'll just buy the chocolate wafer cookies at the store, but I recommend these in general for being delightfully crispy and chocolatey. The recipe calls for half butter and half margarine, but I used all butter, because I don't believe in margarine.

Chocolate Wafers from
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I highly recommend the Dutch-processed kind)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons margarine (I just used 6 tablespoons of butter)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg white

  • In a bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and margarine until well blended.
  • Add the sugars and vanilla extract and beat on high speed for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Beat in the egg white.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.
  • Place the dough on your counter and, using your hands, evenly form the dough into a log shape that is about 9 inches (23 cm) long.
  • Carefully wrap the dough in aluminum foil, parchment paper or wax paper and fold or twist the ends. Try not to flatten the log.
  • Refrigerate until firm. This will take several hours or you can even chill it overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice the log into about 1/4 inch thick wafers.
  • Place the wafers on the baking sheet spacing, about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for approximately 10 - 12 minutes or until the the cookies puff and the tops of the cookies have cracks (ripples).
  • Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 10 days. They can also be frozen.

To make strawberry champagne buttercream sandwich cookies, take two cookies, spread a generous amount of frosting on the bottom of one cookie (use your judgement) and top with the second cookie. Continue until you run out of frosting or cookies.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bundt Cake #14 of Bundt Cake Season 3: Orange Yogurt Pound Cake with Orange Glaze

This is a recipe that caught my eye last Bundt Cake Season, but I was stymied by the fact that it called for mandarin orange yogurt, which A) I'm not sure is even made anymore, and B) definitely isn't one of the flavors available from the local purveyor of yogurt I like to buy. It wasn't until the end of BCS2, that I came up with a solution, so this cake had to wait until Bundt Cake Season 3.

The solution I came up with was to simply buy a can of mandarin oranges, chop them up, and add them to the batter, to have the equivalent of mandarin orange yogurt. It worked well enough, though there were very few mandarin orange pieces in the cake (I chopped 'em pretty small), so if I were to make this cake again, I'd definitely use two cans of mandarin oranges. Also, I'm not entirely convinced that what they meant by mandarin orange yogurt wasn't simply orange-flavored yogurt, much like lemon yogurt.

This was a very nice orange-flavored poundcake, and I do love an orange glaze. What put this cake over the top, however, was when I took my friend Resa's advice. Last year, when I was posting about the bundt cakes of BCS2 on Facebook, at some point, Resa posted the following suggestion, "You toast that shit. And you butter it." (These may not have been her exact words, but it's damn close.) When toasted, this cake was transformed into something really delicious. When I gave slices to my friends, I was very clear that to properly enjoy it, they needed to toast it. The toasting tip was especially helpful when the cake was starting to edge toward staleness. I did not actually butter any toasted slices of this poundcake, but I bet it would be tasty.

The recipe is from the Bundt Cookbook:

6 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mandarin orange yogurt (or 1 cup plain yogurt and one to two 11-ounce cans of mandarin oranges drained and chopped)


Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and 1/2 cup of sugar until very stiff.

In a separate bowl (Or, like me, you can beat the egg whites in your stand mixture, then transfer them to another bowl, and then mix up butter, etc., in the stand mixer bowl), cream butter with remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in egg yolks one at a time.

Blend in orange peel and juice.

Add the flour mixture, alternating with the yogurt, to the butter mixture. Mix until smooth and creamy.

Thoroughly fold beaten egg whites into batter.

Bake in a greased and floured (or sprayed with baking spray) 10- or 12-cup bundt pan for 50-55 minutes, or until cake tests done.

Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes; turn out on wire rack or serving plate to complete cooling.

Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar or orange glaze (I definitely recommend the orange glaze).

Orange Glaze
(I usually make just half a batch, but I also seem to like my glaze on the thinner side, so a half batch goes further. Making it thinner means that I also use more orange juice than 1/2 a recipe calls for. Here's the full batch recipe.)

2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
2-4 tablespoons orange juice
1-2 teaspoons grate orange peel


In a small bowl, combine sugar and butter. Add orange juice gradually to achieve desired consistency and stir until smooth. Add peel and stir until fully incorporated.

I'm not sure how much you can tell from this picture, but this cake rose pretty high out of the pan. I think it's because I made sure the butter was properly softened and I used the trick I learned from Kiss My Bundt to make sure that the eggs were at room temperature. (Supposedly, eggs are easier to separate when cold, but I didn't really have any problems with these room-temperature eggs.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bundt Cake #13 of Bundt Cake Season 3: Coconut Mini Bundts with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

You may be noticing a trend here, with the mini bundts and the cream cheese frosting; trust me, this is an excellent trend. One of the toppings suggested for this cake was actually a coconut buttercream, which I considered (because I had done two cream cheese frostings in a row), but in discussing the matter with the Main Squeeze, he confirmed my concern about trying a frosting I didn't know if we would like, especially when I had had such success with the cream cheese frosting thus far. And we were right. The coconut cream cheese frosting was perfect!

I associate coconut cake with my great aunts. These are the sort of women whose stories from their lives just makes you feel like a slacker (the same was true of their sister, my grandmother). I have the utmost respect and love for them. My Great Aunt Jane is currently battling pancreatic cancer, and tough as she is, the conclusion, unfortunately, is foregone. She's currently 89; she's lived a very full life. Up until last summer, she insisted that the maintenance crew at her retirement community leave the lawn mower, so that she could mow her own lawn--that's the sort of strong woman she is. She and my other great aunts, when they make coconut cake, they grate the fresh coconut themselves. I don't think I'm quite that committed, but like I said, compared to them, I'm just a slacker. :) And although this may not be their coconut cake recipe, it is very, very good! And I'll think of them whenever I make it.

Here's the recipe (from Kiss My Bundt):

2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 coconut extract*
3/4 cup whole milk**
1/2 cup coconut milk

* The recipe says this is optional, but I don't think you'll get the proper coconut flavor without the extract (plus you need it for the frosting).
** The recipe says that you can substitute the milk with more coconut milk, which is what I did, and I highly recommend it. So, instead of 3/4 cup of milk and a 1/2 cup of coconut milk, you would use 1 1/4 cups of coconut milk.

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

3) Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes.

4) Slowly add the sugar. Mix for about 2 minutes.

5) Crack eggs in a separate bowl and add to the batter one at at time. Then beat on medium speed for additional 2 minutes.

6) Mix vanilla, coconut extract, and the two milks together (or just the coconut milk if you are going with that option--go with that option).

7) Beginning and ending with the flour, mix 1/3 of the flour into the wet mixture at low speed, then 1/2 the milk, alternating until all ingredients are mixed.

8) Transfer batter to cake pan(s) that have been coated with a baker's cooking spray that includes flour (or grease and flour the pans), filling until the cavity is about 3/4 full.

9) Bake cake(s) until an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean--about 40 minutes for a regular-sized bundt pan and 18 - 22 minutes for mini bundts.

10) Invert cake(s) onto a cooling rack or serving plate. If cake resists, cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting. (It it/the still resist, then let them sit for 15 minutes more). Cool completely before frosting, at least one hour for a regular-sized bundt. Mini bundts are probably closer to 15 - 20 minutes.

As I finished up the batter, I realized that neither the cake nor the frosting called for any actual coconut! That struck me as not quite right, so I decided to add shredded coconut to the frosting (next time I make it, I might also add it to the cake itself). I added a 1/2 cup of shredded coconut to the frosting, which was perfect. Since it turned out that I was short on confectioner's sugar, I did half sweetened coconut and half unsweetened coconut, but I would definitely recommend sticking to unsweetened coconut (unless you only have sweetened, in which case, it'll be totally fine).

So yes, I was about to start the frosting, when I realized that I had forgotten to get more confectioner's sugar from the store. After some cursing, I decided to wing it. I think I had about a cup of confectioner's sugar (so half of what's called for). We also happened to have a box of superfine sugar (which we bought for cocktail making, but haven't had a cocktail recipe that called for it since then), but knowing that confectioner's sugar is sugar mixed with cornstarch, I didn't want to straight substitute superfine for confectioner's, so I used just half a cup of that. I sifted it with the confectioner's sugar, hoping that might help. I think having the coconut in the frosting helped to hide any granular-ness of the superfine sugar. So it turned out okay, but I wouldn't recommend using non-confectioner's sugar as a regular practice.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (again, I used Neufchatel, it worked very well here)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened, but sweetened is fine--of course, if you are like my great aunts, you can grate your own fresh coconut)

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and cream cheese until soft and completely smooth, at least 2 minutes.

Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to scrape down any frosting stuck to the sides of the bowl.

Add coconut extract.

Mix on medium speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Add the shredded coconut and mix until the coconut is throughly incorporated.

This cake got rave reviews from my coworkers; so yeah, if you like coconut cake, or just coconut, I definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bundt Cake #12 of Bundt Cake Season 3: Cappuccino Mini Bundts with Frangelico Cream Cheese Frosting

Since the first set of mini bundts turned out so well, I was enthusiastic to use the mini bundt pans again. I also wanted to try another recipe from the Kiss My Bundt cookbook, since the Red Velvet mini bundts were so delicious. The Cappuccino cake recipe caught my eye in no small part because of a favorite cappuccino muffin that was sold at a local breakfast/lunch place in town (which sadly, went out of business years ago). I still periodically crave those muffins. So I had high hopes for this recipe.

The recipe recommended cream cheese frosting as the topping for this cake, and being a fan of cream cheese frosting in general, and especially on the aforementioned Red Velvet mini bundts, I decided that it was an excellent suggestion; however, I wanted to mix it up a bit and decided to flavor the frosting. My initial thought was to make a Kahlua cream cheese frosting, but then I hit upon an even better idea: Frangelico. Hazelnut coffee is my favorite, so a cappuccino cake with a hazelnut-flavored frosting seemed perfect.

The cake was very good, just not quite as totally awesome as I had hoped. I definitely recommend it, especially with the Frangelico cream cheese frosting!

Here's the recipe:

2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup whole milk*
5 tablespoons instant coffee granules**

* I'm pretty sure I just made this with 1 percent milk. Though if we had any half and half, I may have used some of that to get the milk closer to 4 percent.

** If you are at all coffee snobbish and pooh-pooh the idea of instant coffee (hey, I'm not judging you), you could definitely try substituting some of the milk (as much as half?) with brewed and cooled coffee. I'm considering trying that the next time I make this recipe myself.

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

3) Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes.

4) Slowly add the sugar. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes.

5) Crack eggs in a separate bowl and add to the batter one at at time. Then beat on medium speed for additional 2 minutes.

6) Add vanilla to milk. Then dissolve the coffee granules in the vanilla-milk mixture.

7) Beginning and ending with the flour, mix 1/3 of the flour into the wet mixture at low speed, then 1/2 the milk, alternating until all ingredients are mixed.

8) Transfer batter to cake pan(s) that have been coated with a baker's cooking spray that includes flour (or grease and flour the pans), filling until the cavity is about 3/4 full.

9) Bake cake(s) until an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean--about 40 minutes for a regular-sized bundt pan and 18 - 22 minutes for mini bundts.

Frangelico Cream Cheese Frosting recipe:

4 oz unsalted butter softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel, but in this case, I think the tanginess of it worked less well with the Frangelico than regular cream cheese would.)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 4 tablespoons of Frangelico (or other liqueur of your choice)

1) With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and the cream cheese until soft and completely smooth, at least 2 minutes

2) Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to scrape down any frosting stuck to the sides of the bowl.

3) Add vanilla extract.

4) Mix on a medium speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

5) Starting with a tablespoon at a time, add Frangelico to frosting, until you get your desired level of Frangelico flavor. I think I used about 3 1/2 tablespoons, and still thought it could use a little more, but didn't want to overwhelm the other folks who would be having the cake.

Your frosting will be a bit thinner with the additional liquid, so make sure you are paying attention to that as well as you add the Frangelico.