Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Vanilla Pound Cake

July 15, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 23 Comments
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vanilla pound cake

I love a good Bundt, and I think Flo Braker’s Vanilla Pound Cake recipe makes a particularly handsome one.  I’ve been sort of afraid that my nice little 6-cup Bundt pan (that I always use to make half recipes) has been losing its non-stick abilities, but with a good spraying and flouring this cake fell right out, no problem. The cake was no problem to mix either– super straightforward.  The only trick I had up my sleeve was to swap the vanilla extract for a smear of vanilla paste.

vanilla pound cake

The cake is really tender…it’s not dry at all.  Because I only made a half-sized cake, I really watched the baking time and took it out of the oven at just under 40 minutes. I think this cake would go with just about anything, but summer fruit sounds particularly good to me.  I had jar of dark cherries that I poached in the fridge, so we had half our cake with those.  The other half’s in the freezer, but the recipe mentions toasting stale slices as the base for ice cream sundaes, which makes me think about recreating a yummy, fancy affogato concoction my husband had at Brooklyn Farmacy a couple of weeks ago.

vanilla pound cake

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here, along with a video). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Cranberry Crème Fraîche Bundt Cake

February 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 11 Comments
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Cranberry crème fraîche bundt cake

It’s almost Valentine’s Day.  A perfect excuse to make something sweet and pink, not that I really need one.  I never need an excuse to make a Bundt either– I just love them!  This Cranberry Crème Fraîche Bundt Cake seemed like just the right treat to make this year.  I know that cranberry season is gone, but if you’re like me, you bought a couple of extra bags during the holidays and threw them in the freezer.  When there’s not a lot of good fruit around, this comes in handy.

This cake uses a lush ingredient–crème fraîche.  You can make your own, but I just buy it.  It’s pretty easy to find now, even at TJ’s.   The crème fraîche gives the cake great structure and texture.  It also helps make it a great keeper.  The pockets and swirls of tasty cranberry sauce inside the cake ensure that each slice just as pretty as the uncut Bundt.  I liked the little bit of almond flavoring in the cake as well, but I’m sure it would be great without if you don’t have the extract or you avoid nuts.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  xoxo

Don’t want cake, try coeur à la crème.

Cranberry crème fraîche bundt cake

Cranberry Crème Fraîche- makes 10 to 12 servings
adapted from Cake Simple: Recipes for Bundt-Style Cakes from Classic Dark Chocolate to Luscious Lemon-Basil by Christie Matheson

Steph’s Note:  I buy my crème fraîche at the grocery store, but you can certainly make your own.  To do this, you’ll want to start at least a day before making this cake, and you’ll need 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk.  Combine the heavy cream with the buttermilk, cover tightly, and let sit at room temperature (in a warm room) for at least 8 hours. Stir the mixture– if it hasn’t thickened completely, cover the mixture again and let it sit in a warm place for another 2 to 3 hours and check it again. When it has a nice, thick consistency, it will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus melted butter for greasing the pan
2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 cup (240 ml) crème fraîche
Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce (recipe follows) or 2 cups (450 g) canned whole berry-cranberry sauce
Cranberry Glaze (recipe follows)
1/2 cup (45 g) chopped toasted almonds or toasted almond slivers

-Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas 4). Brush the inside of a 10-cup (2.4 L) Bundt pan with the melted butter and dust it lightly with flour and tap out the excess.

-Whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.

-In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

-With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three increments) alternately with the crème fraîche (in two increments), beginning and ending with the flour and beating after each addition until just combined.

-Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Swirl half the cranberry sauce over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the cranberry sauce, and then swirl the remaining cranberry sauce over the batter.  I tried my best to more or less keep the sauce from touching the sides of the pan and tube, just so there wouldn’t be any sticking. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown on top and a skewer comes out free of wet batter.

-Swiftly rap the pan on the counter once or twice right after pulling it from the oven…this will help the cake settle and release.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and let it cool completely. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Sprinkle the almonds over the top.  The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Whole Berry-Cranberry Sauce (you can use 2 cups of a nice, canned whole cranberry sauce instead if you’d like)

12 ounces (340 g) fresh cranberries
3/4 cup (180 ml) water 
3/4-1 cup (150-200 g) granulated sugar, depending on sweetness preference 
1/4 teaspoon salt

-In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries with the water, sugar, and salt and cook for about 15 minutes (after about 10 minutes, remove about 2 tablespoons of the liquid for the cranberry glaze), or until the sauce has thickened and most of the liquid has reduced. Let the sauce cool completely before using it in the cake (you will need about 2 cups of sauce for the cake, so you may have a bit extra). The sauce keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cranberry Glaze 

1 cup (93 g) confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tablespoons cranberry juice (reserved from making the cranberry sauce)

-Mix the confectioners’ sugar and 1-2 tablespoons cranberry juice (depending on your desired thickness) in a small bowl until smooth.

Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze

February 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 17 Comments
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double-chocolate bundt cake with ganache glaze

I had wanted this post to be a recipe for a citrus loaf cake, but something went amiss in the preparation…namely, my brain when I tried to do some “cake math” to downsize the recipe.  I was a math major in college, too.  Seriously, Wellesley should revoke my degree for not being able to handle basic fractions.  Anyway, that greasy disaster used up all my blood oranges and a copious amount of olive oil, so that was that for that– time to get over it and move on with chocolate!

I’ve made this Double Chocolate Bundt Cake from Food & Wine twice, and R and I like it a lot.  It’s a homey, old-fashioned, easy peasy, hand-whisked thing.  It’s kind of cake I imagine making for my imaginary children.  Also, I have a particular fondess for chocolate cakes made with oil (I use grapeseed).  They have a dense/moist crumb that I’m really into and they keep for days.  The first time I baked this cake, used Dutch-processed cocoa, but the second time I decided to give natural a go, seeing as how baking soda is used as the leavener.  While I didn’t notice any difference in rise between the two, I think the one made with natural cocoa tasted better…a little more chocolatey, maybe, although that could just be a difference between the two particular brands.

The ganache glaze and sprinkles may be mandatory for me, but if you can do without, a simple sift of powdered sugar on top of the cake would look really great.  Don’t forget a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.

There’s a little Bundt cake trick I’ve learned at the shop where I work.  Sometimes even a well-greased and floured a Bundt can have trouble releasing from the pan and can get a bit torn up.  Right after you take the Bundt out of the oven, using potholders, give the bottom of the pan a good, swift rap on your counter (only if it’s heatsafe, though!).  This helps the cake to settle a bit and come away from the sides of the pan, especially around the tube area, where it can sometimes get caught.  I would not do this with most types of layer or loaf cakes, but a sturdy Bundt can take it– as long as it’s baked all the way, of course.

double-chocolate bundt cake with ganache glaze

Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze- makes 10-12 servings 
adapted from Food & Wine (November 2006)

Steph’s Notes:  I made half a recipe in my 6-cup Bundt pan, but still used the full egg (I just chose the smallest egg in my carton).  Also, my smaller cake baked in about 35-40 minutes.

vegetable oil spray or softened butter for the Bundt pan
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
 3/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong-brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup or golden syrup
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

-Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Thouroughly grease a a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray or softened butter.  (I did not, but if you’d like added insurance, you can flour the pan as well.)

-In a small saucepan, melt 2 ounces of the chopped chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Scrape the chocolate into a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the oil and sugar until smooth, then whisk in the egg.

-In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture along with 1/2 cup of the coffee and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk; whisk until smooth. Add the remaining dry ingredients, coffee and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.

-Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.  Swiftly rap the pan on the counter once or twice right after pulling it from the oven…this will help the cake settle and release.  Let the cake cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out and let cool completely.

-In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a heatproof bowl, combine the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate with the corn syrup (or golden syrup) and butter. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Let the ganache glaze cool until thick but still pourable, about 5 minutes.

-Pour the ganache over the cooled cake. Let the cake stand until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes, before serving.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

May 10, 2011 at 12:10 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 19 Comments
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brown sugar bundt cake

Well, I do think we have finally found ourselves at the end of the TWD Bundt cake chapter.  A bittersweet day, perhaps…if that may be said concerning something called a Brown Sugar Bundt.

The recipe for this brown sugar and buttermilk cake calls for chunks of apple or pear in the batter (and some prunes, too), but in the interests of being sort of seasonal, I was really hoping to make this with rhubarb.  That plan was foiled, though, after trips to two different farmers’ markets and one produce stand turned up zilch.  I returned home with a nice, ripe mango in my bag and just used that instead (and nixed those prunes).  Despite all the brown sugar in the ingredient list– I used half light, half dark–this cake was not a sugar-bomb at all.  The sweetness was understated enough that I think it would have been a fabulous breakfast cake, even though we had it for dessert.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Pantry Revisited, as it was Peggy’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

March 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 9 Comments
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whiskey-soaked dark chocolate bundt cake

I’m not an Irish girl (although with my reddish hair and fair skin, you can’t imagine how often I’m asked), but I’m still up for celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day.  I’m long done with the overcrowed pub thing though, so this year I’m going to get my booze on with Melissa Clarke’s Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt instead.  It is loaded with a whole cup of whiskey, Jameson Irish in this case, and if you like this sort of thing, it is amazingly good.  The crumb is tight and not fluffy, but instead of being a dense chocolate cake, the texture is soft as velvet.

If you read through the recipe, you’ll notice that the cake isn’t meant to be frosted.  It truly doesn’t need it, but my cake needed it.  You see, I decided to ignore the direction to flour my Bundt pan.  Usually a good spray is all I need to get a clean release, but when I went to turn this cake out the entire outer layer stuck to the pan.  Crappola.  I patched back what I could (and ate what I couldn’t!), and then whipped up a quick gancahe to spackle and hide my goof.  I think I did a good job with the reconstructive surgery– I can barely tell. 

Bottoms up!

whiskey-soaked dark chocolate bundt cake

Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake- makes 10 to 12 servings
adapted from Melissa Clark’s fabulous book  In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting pan
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup bourbon, rye or other whiskey, more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
confectioners’ sugar, for garnish (optional)

 -Grease and flour a 10-cup-capacity Bundt pan (or two 8- or 9-inch loaf pans). Preheat oven to 325° F. In microwave oven or double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate. Let cool.

-Put espresso and cocoa powders in a 2-cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to come up to the 1 cup measuring line. Mix until powders dissolve. Add whiskey and salt; let cool.

-Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, baking soda and melted chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

-On low speed, beat in a third of the whiskey mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup flour. Repeat additions, ending with whiskey mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes for Bundt pan (loaf pans will take less time, start checking them after 55 minutes).

-Transfer cake to a rack. Unmold after 15 minutes and sprinkle warm cake with more whiskey. Let cool before serving, garnished with confectioners’ sugar if you like.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

January 25, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 21 Comments

nutty, chocolaty, swirly sour cream bundt cake

It’s cold.  So cold that I don’t want to go outside.  So cold that I just want to stay at home and bake all day.  And that’s just how I spent this past Saturday.  First up was this Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake.  It’s kind of a cross between a pound cake and a coffee cake…a pound cake-type base with a swirls of sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts and chocolate running through.  Dorie’s recipe also calls for raisins, but since I don’t normally go for fruit and chocolate combos, I left them out entirely.  However, to totally contradict what I just said, I did add the orange zest (actually I used tangerine), and liked the gentle citrus flavor a lot. 

A word of warning…making the cake was easy, making the swirl was easy, but combining them was not.  I read about sticking, so I was careful not to let the first layer of the sugar-based swirl mix come in contact with the pan.  That wasn’t too tricky, but then when I added the second and final layer of swirl, the cake batter was so stiff, I really couldn’t easily work it over the swirl to cover it.  Not wanting to bake it with exposed swirlage (because it would fall out when I flipped the cake), I popped the cake in the oven for about three minutes, until the batter just started to soften.  Then it was a breeze to get that swirl covered up with batter.

My husband asked for “big pieces” of this cake.  We both liked how it had a nice outer crust with soft cake inside.  And course cinnamon, nuts and chocolate, too!

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here on NPR) or read Cooking for Comfort, as it was Jennifer’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Double Apple Bundt Cake

October 5, 2010 at 12:27 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 26 Comments

double apple bundt cake

Lynne of Honey Muffin keeps the autumn recipes coming with her Double Apple Bundt pick for TWD.  This is kind of a spicy sister to the Fresh Apple Cake I made a couple of weeks ago…that one was flavored with vanilla, but this one has all the classic fall spices goin’ on.

This cake is “double apple” because in addition to fresh apple, it calls for a heaping helping of apple butter.  Since I didn’t have nearly enough on hand,  I used unsweetened apple sauce instead.  I was a little worried, since they’re not really the same consistency, but as it turned out, all was fine.  I also swapped out about a quarter of the AP for whole wheat flour, which these days I find myself doing probably more often than I remember to tell you about.

All in all, a delicious fall cake…and it’s a good keeper, too, as it’s super-moist.  For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Honey Muffin.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

April 6, 2010 at 1:13 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 29 Comments

mocha-walnut marbled bundt cake

Two bundts in a row– I am a lucky girl!  I made this Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake for our Easter dinner.  Last week’s Coconut Tea Cake went unadorned, but for this one, I stirred up a quick chocolate sour cream frosting (thinned out with a little coffee leftover from making the cake batter), so my springtime pastel hundreds and thousands would have something to stick to.

Chocolate, coffee and ground walnuts all in one moist cake– what’s not to like?  It’s tasty, it’s easy, and I’m glad that Erin of When in Doubt…Leave it at 350 picked it for TWD.

I have jury duty today.  Perhaps a little snack-sized piece of this will find its way into my tote…

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read When in Doubt…Leave it at 350.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Coconut Black Sesame Tea Cake

March 30, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 29 Comments

coconut black sesame tea cake

Between the time I wrote this and now, I’ve left my job, gone to Florida and back and gone to Seattle and back.  Whew!  I just got home last night, hence the delay in posting (and my poor showing in the comments department over the last couple weeks).

I’m really glad that Carmen of Carmen Cooks picked this Coconut Tea cake for TWD– it’s been on my “would someone hurry up and choose it?” list like forever!  I couldn’t resist doing one of Dorie’s “playing around” variations, so I added black sesame seeds to mine…I just know that when my husband sees it, he is going to ask me if I baked a cake with fleas!

I also used rum, in addition to vanilla, and toasted, unsweetened coconut (I get this at the healthfood store, and I think it helped to temper the sweetness of the cake…there’s a lot of sugar in the batter, afterall!).  I made half the recipe in a six-cup bundt pan, and it was done in 35-40 minutes.  This is just the type of cake I love: easy-peasy to make, in bundt form, moist and tastes like coconut!  I haven’t tried it with tea yet…that’ll be tomorrow, when I sit down with a cuppa to watch episodes of The Ricky Gervais show on HBO On demand.  Yes, I have a lot going on now that I’m not working…

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Carmen Cooks.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Milk Chocolate Bundt Cake

February 2, 2010 at 10:45 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 41 Comments

milk chocolate bundt cake

Although Kristin of I’m Right About Everything chose Dorie’s Milk Chocolate Mini Bundts for TWD this week, here I present you not with multiple mini bundts, but with one mini-ish bundt.  I do actually have a mini bundt pan, but it’s one of many, many things that have been boxed up in storage since we moved back from Australia.  Our apartment is just not big enough for too many non-essentials, so I made do here by baking the full amount of batter in my 6-cup bundt tin.  Still kinda mini, but really cute!

I don’t often bake with milk chocolate.  It doesn’t give you that in-your-face chocolate flavor, but instead something more subtle and light.  Sometimes that’s all I need, though, and much like when I made milk chocolate brownies, I found the flavor of this cake to be quite pleasant.  I left out the nut swirl in the original recipe and used buttermilk instead of regular.  My glaze started out a little wackadoo (something I think many of us experienced), but I smoothed it out with a couple spoonfuls of hot water.  When I’m finally able to retrieve that mini bundt pan, and I make this again, I’ll try a ganache-style glaze instead.

milk chocolate bundt cake

I have to say that in terms of both looks and taste, this reminded me of a big fat chocolate cake doughnut, and I can’t say that I minded one bit!  For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read I’m Right About Everything.   Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

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