I’ve always been fascinated but a little bit scared of Bundt baking. Odd shaped tins, American recipes (we all know how tricky those can be to convert…talk about hit and miss!) and the fear of doing something spectacularly wrong.
Well, consider me cured! Through the Clandestine Cake Club, I’ve made friends with the lovely Rachel – baker, foodie, blogger and Bundt obsessive. I’d read her posts with interest (and fear) and gone as far as buying myself a basic shaped tin from a supermarket, but it wasn’t until she gave us a talk about her love affair with Bundts at the CCC Annual Organisers Gathering at the end of last month that I worked up the courage to take the bundt plunge good and proper.
You can read Rachel’s blog here: DollyBakes
My first Bundt effort was a recipe from her site – strawberry Bundt cake, made with yoghurt, using my (what I now consider to be inferior) supermarket tin. It was ok. I blame my techniques and not the recipe. Also, it was something different and although I am happy to experiment, I’m always a bit unsure of myself!
My second attempt, however, quite the different experience!
Firstly, I was using an amazing new Nordic Ware bundt tin (pan, tin, pan, whatever), which I’d treated myself to after a busy month of band gigs. Let me tell you, this tin is a thing of beauty in itself, never mind what you put in it and get out of it! I’d ordered two of them – the Heritage and the Star. As the Heritage was out of stock, the Star had been sent on alone and was, by default, the tin to be used to test out my cake for our next Manchester North CCC gathering (An Autumn Feast on 27th October).
My recipe was a spicy pumpkin cake, found on an American foodie blogger’s site. American! Cups! How did I cope? I winged it. I measured with my Tala cooks measure and used Queen Delia’s guidance on American conversions. Making the batter went well. Even when I added the sloppy pumpkin puree I was happy with how the mix went. It was very fluffy though, and with oodles of volume I had enough mix for two mini tins as well (plus ample bowl-licking).
I over-filled my tin. Despite knowing Bundt-Queen Rachel’s advice, I still put too much in. I knew it was going to be a big riser but I still kept adding that batter. Once in the oven, it overflowed! Not masses, but definitely burst out of the tin. Lesson learnt. Cooked for 55 minutes, which was, according to the recipe, enough time. I thought I could have kept it in longer but it was cooked and I like to stick to the recipe first of all then make my tweaks after I know how the recipe works.
The house was filled with the glorious scent of baking cake, mixed with the delicious seasonal spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove. When the cake came out of the oven I was chuffed to bits. Good colour, sinked nicely back into the tin and had all the promise of turning out beautifully. Left it to cool for about an hour before braving tin removal.
Success! Kept the shape beautifully and looked amazing. I’d actually followed guidance this time and properly prepared my tin and spooned the batter in slowly with wiggling and it worked. A few small holey bubbles but generally excellent. Husband, Small Person and I ate the two mini-bundts after our dinner (for testing purposes only, you understand) and took the finished cake to my parents’ for post Sunday lunch sampling. It went down well with everyone!
Tweaks for cake club? Yes a few. It could take a bit more spice – flavours were lovely but I like strong flavours and these were a bit delicate. It could totally take some nuts – hazelnut or pecan probably. I may cook it longer at a lower temperature to see if I can develop a bit more of that signature Bundt ‘crunch’. You’ll notice I’ve made little mention of the pumpkin, which was supposed to be a feature of the cake. I couldn’t taste it. I’d roasted, peeled and mashed the blighter but it didn’t give much flavour to the cake. However, it did provide lots of lovely moisture that really helped with the structure of the cake and when I bake it again for cake club, will probably help keep it moist with longer cooking.
So here it is, my entry for National Bundt Day UK: Spicy Pumpkin Bundt