Tuesday, November 17, 2009

{TWD} All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake


November is the month for giving thanks, and I'm thankful that we have permission to post the November Tuesdays With Dorie recipes in any order, and I have another week to get the time-intensive Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake baked! The recipe that I'm posting this week is the All in One Holiday Bundt Cake.

When I saw this recipe I was skeptical. I don't have a very good history with Dorie's hybrid desserts, especially where pumpkin and/or spices are concerned. (Last Thanksgiving's Twofer Pie (Pumpkin + Pecan) and the Chocolate Gingerbread were not successful combinations in my opinion.) I hoped that the cranberries and apples (and pecans) in this recipe would give the underlying pumpkin cake an interesting twist, but I worried that it would be a hodge-podge of disparate flavors from the multiple ingredients.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- For once I used the full amount of all-purpose flour, without adding any whole grain flour! I figured that I was making enough adjustments to the recipe as it was.

- Cranberry bread/cake is one of Winter's little joys, and the more cranberries the better. I didn't want insipid widely-scattered cranberries, so I increased the quantity of cranberries to 1 1/3 cups. I correspondingly I decreased the amount of apple (I used 1 cup of apple, which is equivalent to a medium apple rather than the recipe's specified large one)

- Although you really can't tell from the pictures, I cut the cranberrries in half (while they were still frozen) rather than chopping them. That's what we did with the cranberries in our cranberry bread when I was growing up, and I love the way they look.

- To build a little intensity in the cake I increased all the spices by half, except the fresh-ground nutmeg, which I mistakenly tripled. Instead of light brown sugar, I used the dark stuff.

- I substituted light tasting olive oil for 2 tablespoons of the butter.

- My bundt loaf pan is 10 cup capacity, and it was the perfect size for this recipe. I spooned a bit of the batter into a single silicone cupcake mold and baked it so that I could have a taste without cutting into the big cake.

- The bottom of the cake got a little soft after the first day or so, probably from the moisture of the apples. I think that if I were to bake this cake again that I'd decrease the quantity of apple a bit more - or maybe use dried apples - and definitely increase the cranberries.



the verdict:

Upon tasting the little cupcake, my first reaction was that it needed more salt. Then I realized that I had forgotten to put any salt in the cake at all.

Despite my apprehension, I found this to be a lovely cake. the combination works surprisingly well. The apple transforms the cake into a whole new dessert - sweet and tart, fresh and spiced - with all the different flavors contributing to the whole rather than fighting with each other. I loved the cranberries the most, and was very glad I'd increased the amount. In fact, I wish there were even more cranberries! The maple glaze dressed up the appearance of the cake, and had a nice flavor, but I wouldn't say it was necessary.

I brought the cake to a neighborhood supper club and it held its own next to a store-bought cheesecake and a store-bought caramel layer cake. (Our street has been meeting for supper club for 20 years, and I don't remember ever seeing store-bought desserts, but I will spare you an extended rant.)

And now I have a confession to make, something that wouldn't have crossed my mine before I started food blogging: I brought the cake over whole, figuring that there would be a lot of cake left over (this is a bundt cake after all, and can serve a ton of people - there are always leftovers!) and I could photograph a slice the next day. When dessert time arrived, I saw that the hostess had cut up the entire huge cake into small pieces. My first thought was: "Oh, no! What am I going to do about my pictures?" All was forgiven when she - and her sons - loved the cake and were excited to keep half the leftovers. The next day I put some of the little half slices on a plate, and took pictures, which were just fine.

Thanks to Britin of The Nitty Britty for choosing this lovely All in One Holiday Bundt Cake on pages 186 and 187 of of Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. The recipe is up on Britin's blog - click here - and on November 24, she will have her own bundt cake posted on her blog.

31 comments:

house staging said...

Hi. I'm used to make very similar cake, however I don't decrease the amount of apples and increase the amount of cranberries, but it seems like a good idea because especially my children love cranberries. This cake is very popular in our family and besides Thanksgiving I make it quite often.

Have a nice day,
Ella

Amanda said...

LOL about the slices and the pics, glad it worked out! Love that mold, it's gorgeous! I also halved my cranberries, I made this two weeks ago and loved it. I made the cran apple crisp this week, so good!

Jessica said...

Nancy, I just put that bundt loaf pan onto my "kitchen schwag" wish list the other day. I'm so glad that I got to see a picture of your cake so I could better visualize the finished product.

I agree with you on the cranberries, and I wish I'd increased the amount that I added to the cake. Biting into the cranberries was my favorite part of this cake. It looks like a lovely cake, and I'm glad that everyone at your supper club seemed to enjoy it!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Beautiful! I love the shape of your loaf pan too, I don't have that one.

MacDuff said...

Oh nice - I was thinking about making this without any fruit at all, but maybe I'll keep the cranberries. I'm with you on the dessert hybrids.

Let's hear the rant on store-bought food. Although honestly, if my store had caramel cakes, you'd probably see a few of those showing up with me to events.

Megan said...

I would have had the same reaction upon seeing the cake cut into little pieces -

I haven't made this recipe yet, I'm thinking of taking it to the vet's office next week - I'm sure it will be appreciated!

chocolatechic said...

I love the pan you used.

I made this today as well, but I didn't use cranberries.

jillbert said...

I was concerned that there was too much going on with this cake too, but I really liked it - especially the cranberries; more of them would have been welcome!

Leslie said...

I went into this one with the same hesitancy as you, even though I skipped the twofer pie and failed on the chocolate gingerbread. I'm on the fence about it, it was fine, but it definitely needed more cranberries. Yours looks great...I love your idea of making a single cupcake for tasting. That way I wouldn't have to take a stealth photo at work.

Karen said...

I think the extra cranberries sound delicious in this! Funny that you mention the store bought desserts. At work this week we are having an iron chef competition. Last year there were quite a few men that brought store bought stuff. Their teams lost.

dharmagirl said...

isn't it funny how the food photo obsession threatens to trump other social niceties?!?

i loved this cake, too, and i too was skeptical, thinking there was way too much going on. i'm glad i made it!

Mary Ann said...

So kind of you to take this to a large gathering to share! I can't wait to make it again this year. I love your pan, very pretty.

Tammy said...

I am looking to making this in my bundt pan that has only been used once before. i have to agree re: taking the photo before it all disapppeared. My husband will now ask before he goes to eat something, have you taken a photo of this!

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Sarah said...

Funny, I doubled the apple and loved it that way... I was apprehensive about all of the different elements of this cake, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Your cake is beautiful - I love the shape. A 20 year supper club, that sounds like so much fun!

mike said...

I LOVE that pan Nancy - it just looks wonderful! And how about that "hostess" - don't people realize that this is a work of art??? :) I am so excited to try this now - seems like I am the only one left who hasn't made this wonderful cake. I made notes on your "notes" and will alter the cranberries. Another superb TWD Nancy!

Jules Someone said...

We really enjoyed this one. You do like to tinker, don't you. ;-)

margot said...

Oh, that Bundt loaf pan makes a beautiful cake! I'm glad this hybrid worked for you. I love cranberries, so I will definitely take your suggestion of adding extra when I make it this weekend.

Good luck with the chestnut cake, I'm sure you'll do a fabulous job.

Peggy said...

Nancy, I am trying to find out if this is more like a coffee cake or like a dessert cake. I was planning to make it this weekend and take it to a dinner. What do you think? It looks like a coffee cake to me, but everyone is raving over it. I love your rectangle one! Can you please just shoot me a response today and let me know what you think? I trust your judgment!

Cathy said...

Your cake is gorgeous in the loaf bundt pan (adding that to my Christmas list). I've not had the best luck with the hybrid desserts either, so I've been glad to read the rave reviews about this one.

Fabulous pictures (even the mini pieces!)

Oh, and please do rant next time - I love a good rant!

pinkstripes said...

Gorgeous bundt! I'm glad it was a success. I think I should have upped the spices too. It needed more of a kick with all the other flavors.

Steph said...

I like your loaf pan. It makes the regular one more interesting. I think I would use dried apples too!

Clivia said...

I feel your pain. Here's how dinners end at my house. Hubby "what's for dessert?"
Harried cook "Something wonderful, but you can't have any until I take some photos. Start clearing the table."
I love all your variations for this cake! I'm all for more cranberries.

spike. said...

Glad it worked out (even without the salt)!

Di said...

Great, now you've added something else to my bakeware wishlist. =P And I love the story about your neighbor cutting up all the cake. I'm glad you enjoy this one so much--it's on the list for this weekend for me.

Jess said...

Your cake looks fantastic, cut up or not! I think dried apples would be a nice addition to this cake as well.

Katrina said...

Love your rectangular mold. Glad you liked the cake. I really liked this one. Would I make this over something chocolaty, that I don't know, but it was good!

Engineer Baker said...

I upped the cranberries and spices as well - should have lowered the amount of apples though, as it was a bit too moist the next day. Yours looks wonderful, so I'm glad it was appreciated!

Tracey said...

I was skeptical about this one too Nancy and though I didn't try it, I hear it was a hit with my mom's coworkers! Yours looks wonderful. I am loving that Bundt loaf pan. I never even knew such a thing existed.

Pamela said...

I've never seen a bundt loaf like that before. So neat! Your cake looks super moist and yummy.

Kayte said...

You have the prettiest pan shapes and sizes...this one is just lovely with all that drippy frosting. Love your notes and confessions...always fun to hear others' adventures in the kitchen.