Today is National Bundt (Pan) Day!
I often find out about daily food themes on the actual day itself (if you follow @Foodimentary on Twitter you can also) but at that point it's too late for me to do a tie-in post on my blog. This time, however, not only do I know it's National Bundt Day, I baked a bundt cake, photographed it, and am posting it on the day! I certainly cannot take credit for this massive level of organization; I owe it all to The Food Librarian.
To say that Mary (that's the Food Librarian's real name) is obsessed with bundts would be an understatement. She has featured many beautiful bundt cakes in the past, and back in August when it was her turn to choose a recipe for the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group, Mary of course chose a bundt - the first one ever picked for TWD. That was the fabulous Classic Banana Bundt, definitley the best bundt I've ever baked.
But all of Mary's past bundt cake love pales in the face of her most recent project. She has just completed a 30 day marathon of bundt cake baking and posting, culminating today with her National Bundt Day wrapup/summary post. Mary called her project "I Like Big Bundts."
In theory I like big bundts too. But therein lies the problem. Bundts are big. A bundt recipe make a whole lot of cake. Countless slices can be hewn from one massive ring of cake and hardly make a dent. (Luckily, most bundts freeze well, so you can spring the same cake on your unsuspecting friends and family in the future.)
An alternative approach to the big bundt cake is to bake a big quantity of smaller cakes. Most of the time when I bake a bundt recipe, I use 2 loaf pans, or a bunch of mini-loaves. When you split a batch of cake batter, you have enough for every mood and occasion:
I found the recipe for this Blackberry Jam Cake in Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker. Although I've had the book for six months this is the first recipe I've baked from it. Malgieri based this cake on American recipes that were more than a century old.
- The recipe as I baked it at the end of this post.
- Apparently some of the old blackberry jam cake recipes used cocoa powder and some did not. I was baking the cakes for a variety of people, a few of whom cannot eat chocolate, so I made the cakes both with and without cocoa powder. Similarly, I skipped the nuts in some of the cakes. I won't go into all of the calculations and variables to assemble the correct amount of batter with the correct types of ingredients for the correct pan sizes, but I managed to pull it off without an errors.
- Malgieri introduced me to a cool technique to keep molded cakes from sticking to the pan: butter the pan, dust it with fine dry bread crumbs, then spray the crumbs with cooking spray. I made my own crumbs from pound cake and corn muffin remnants which I dried in oven then processed in a mini food processor. When I coated the pan with the crumbs, the layer was not precisely even. Since the crumbs were lighter in color than the cake my finished cakes looked a little mottled. Nothing a dusting of confectioner's sugar or a glaze wouldn't fix.
- Even though my raisins were brand new, they were not soft so I plumped them in some hot apple cider.
- I used full amount of butter although I was very tempted to substitute some plain yogurt, or even some extra-light olive oil.
- Jam is very sweet, and I didn't want the finished cake to be too sweet, so I cut the sugar by a tiny bit. I would cut more next time.
- I used my batter to make a 6-cup round fluted cake (served to my book group), two 2-cup mini bundt loaves (gave to two friends) and 6 airplane-shaped small cakes (for my husband who loves planes.)
- I used a kugelhopf pan for the round cake, which I thought was appropriate because apparently the bundt pan is an American descendant of European kugelhopf pans.
- The cake would have been very pretty with a glaze but I knew that the cake was sweet enough without it.
This cake tastes fantastic - a little bit spicy, a little hint of fruitiness, nice and moist with a soft crumb. Although it had a tendency to crumble (especially when it was warm) it wasn't at all dry. The cake was a bit on the sweet side, so I think I'd reduce the sugar even more the next time. I like nuts and raisins in baked goods, but I think this cake would be great without them - a lovely fruity spice cake.
I liked the airplanes the best - the edges of the wings were nice and chewy. Also, these didn't have cocoa, so the blackberry flavor was clearer. My husband loved the airplane shape and really enjoyed eating them for breakfast with coffee.
My book group liked the cake too, and were happy to split the leftovers. One of them, H, suggested that a tart lemon glaze would be a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the cake. I mailed the small bundt loaves to two friends. One of them, W, said it was "yummy!" and the other told me she enjoyed it with ice cream and warm blackberry sauce - now there's a great idea!
For more bundt-y goodness, check out 8 very tempting bundts from The Kitchn.
Blackberry Jam Cake
adapted from Nick Malgieri’s The Modern Baker
Makes one 10-inch tube cake, about 24 slices
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (recipe called for 3 cups all-purpose)
2 tbsp alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa (I omitted in some of my cakes; added equivalent amount of flour)
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar (recipe called for 2 cups)
4 large eggs
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I omitted in one small bundt loaf)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup seedless blackberry jam,
One 12-cup tube or Bundt pan, buttered, coated with fine, dry breadcrumbs, and sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray
Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350℉.
For the cake batter, stir together the flour, cocoa, spices, and baking soda; set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar with the paddle on medium speed until light, about 5 minutes.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition.
Remove two tablespoons of the flour mixture and toss it with the raisins and walnuts to coat.
Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture on lowest speed. Stop and scrape down the bowl and beat, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in half of the remaining flour mixture. Beat in half of the remaining buttermilk, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Finally, beat in the jam, and then the raisins and walnuts.
Use a large rubber spatula to give a final stir to the batter, then scrape it into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake until it is well-risen and firm, and a toothpick inserted between the side of the pan and the central tube emerges dry, about an hour.
Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then unmold onto a rack to cool.
Storage: Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage. Defrost the cake and bring it to room temperature before serving.