Being one among a couple of hundred members of the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group has shown me the seemingly infinite variation among bakers, particularly when it comes to recipes preferred by the group's members. Case in point: the recipe that appealed to me most when I first opened my copy of Dorie Greenspan 's Baking: From My Home to Yours - the Swedish Visiting Cake - was still available for me to choose when my hosting turn rolled around, more than 2 years after the group started. Another example: when my daughter JDE bought Dorie's book three years ago, the Brown Sugar Bundt Cake was one of the first recipes she baked, but it wasn't chosen for the group until this week; more than 150 recipes were chosen ahead of it!
A testament to the quality and depth of this book is that these recipes that we are baking in the group's final year, far from being "dregs," are producing some of the tastiest baked goods to date!
- Peggy, of the blog Pantry Revisited, is this week's hostess; you can find the recipe on her blog post. I love reading Peggy's blog because she is always cooking up something fun in her kitchen. Besides, we Southern bloggers need to stick together, right?
- JDE joined me in the kitchen and we baked the bundt together. We made half recipe in a small pudding mold/tube cake pan.
- As written, the recipe calls for adding pieces of pear and chopped prunes to the batter. The ever-helpful Dorie suggests that apples would be a good substitute for the pears and any kind of dried fruit could stand in for prunes. Dorie gives a further option for making a nutty brown sugar bundt cake, and because I love pecans with brown sugar I decided to go that direction and bake a super-pecan bundt. I used King Arthur Flour's Pecan Meal in place of some of the all-purpose flour, substituted 2 oz of pecan oil (which I had bought a couple of months ago when I visited B&B Pecans in Fairhope, AL) for 2 oz of the butter, and stirred in a generous handful of deeply-toasted pecans (also from B&B Pecans). I also added some teensy currants. The flavorings were almond and vanilla extracts.
- The brown sugar I used was pretty dark, but I'm never one to object to a more intense brown sugar flavor.
- The cake crumbled when I sliced it, but I think that might be because I cut into it before it was completely cooled. It definitely was not a dry cake.
This cake was delicious, very moist and nutty with a distinctive flavor of brown sugar. I thought it was great plain but I certainly wouldn't argue with a little whipped cream on top. As much as we enjoyed it the first evening, warm from the oven - and we did enjoy it, each of us going back for second helpings! - it was even better the next day when the flavors had a chance to settle and combine. The pecan version was delicious, but I'm betting the cake would be equally good with walnuts and walnut oil.