Monday, 20 August 2012

Mmmmmm...carrot bundt cake

I think carrot cake is one of those cakes that most people like. This one certainly got a quick death. The recipe for this I got from Food Librarians blog. She loves bundts and has made some amazing ones. I'm a big fan of her blog.
It is an incredibly easy recipe, substituting butter with olive oil. Lots of carrots and walnuts. Delicious. You actually feel, with each mouthful, that you are eating a very healthy cake. I like that feeling!
This cake was surprisingly light. Sometimes I find carrot cake quite dense and heavy. This one was soft too. I iced it with a vanilla cream cheese glaze because I prefer it to lemon.
This is so easy that it's definitely worth a try!

Friday, 17 August 2012

White chocolate bundt cake...just so good!

Another day, another request...this time for a white chocolate bundt cake. And believe it or not, this is something quite difficult to find a recipe for...most recipes I did find had white chocolate mixed with milk chocolate. However my request was for a pure white chocolate cake. So I found one recipe and did some tinkering with it. The result was a very delicious moist cake. It tasted like old-fashioned goodness. Reminded me of sara lee type pound cakes. However, I did have a moment of panic when I inserted my cake tester because it seemed like a part of it was hollow. When I eventually for it out of the tin, there was indeed a small section of the cake that had a hollow section at the bottom. I'm not entirely sure why this happened. I must admit that I do find baking with white chocolate quite unpredictable. It's definitely a very different substance to milk or dark chocolate. This is also why I didn't ice it, I was worried that it was a cake disaster and hollow all round. Thankfully though it was incredibly delicious, an I think it might have been the white chocolate chips put in layers in the cake that somehow caused the hollowness. I definitely will try this again and aim to get it right visually. Taste-wise though it was really perfect!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Lovely lemon blueberry buttermilk bundt - now there's a mouthful!

And the baking continues with a fury. I can't contain myself, really, after such a long time of baking in a tin box on top of a gas stove it's just so good to have a proper oven again. I found two packets of fresh blueberries hiding in the back of the fridge and figured they couldn't be left there much longer. So what better way to use them up than in a fabulous bundt cake?
And did this bundt turn out a dream or what? It was so moist and soft. I could really have just sliced piece after piece and devoured it all. It was really light and the lemons and blueberries combined perfectly. The tangy lemon drizzle added a little kick. Rather naughtily, someone suggested topping a piece with some whipped cream...and oh what an added delight! This is a great cake to have at a picnic, barbecue, or tea party. Actually it's a great cake for any occasion. You don't need much space left in your tummies to squeeze in a piece of this lovely light lemony cake!

Blueberry-Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake

For the Cake:
2½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1¾ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
3 cups blueberries

For the Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, very soft

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (reduce temperature to 325 degrees F if your pan is dark/non-stick). Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2½ cups of the all-purpose flour, the baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl), use your fingertips to rub together the sugar and lemon zest until the zest is completely incorporated and the sugar is evenly moistened. Add the butter and cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing for a minute after each and scraping down the bowl before adding the next. Add the vanilla and mix briefly to combine.

5. With the mixer still on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined, followed by ½ the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and the remaining flour.

6. In a large bowl, combine the blueberries and the remaining 2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, tossing together so they are evenly coated. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the blueberries into the cake batter. Spread the cake batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a serving platter and let cool completely.

7. Once the cake is cool, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and butter until smooth. The icing should be quite thick (if you’d like it thinner, you can add more milk, a teaspoon at a time, until you get it to the consistency you want). Use an offset spatula to spread the glaze on top of the cake, giving it a little nudge down every so often. The cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Chocolate and peanut butter bundt - a special request

Ok so I've just moved back to Dublin and my precious bundt pan from Bali is still in transit somewhere between here and there. Well, a baker just ain't a baker unless she has her bundt pan so I headed into the city on a mission to find one. It took awhile, and I did end up with blisters on my feet. I also had to spend the entire search convincing my younger brother that every step we took in this mission was a step closer to obtaining a baking pan that created a piece of heaven. Naturally, I had to live up to this statement. I mentioned some flavours and he jumped at peanut butter and chocolate. So that's what I made. This is a delightful cake. Richly chocolately but yet a nice nutty surprise in the middle. And the verdict from my brother was a big thumbs up followed by a discussion on how the bundt cake does seem to just epitomise the absolute essence of yumminess in its shape, size, form and ultimately taste. I must say that since I first discovered the bundt I have developed a complete and utter love for it. I do find it aesthetically to be such an attractive cake shape that it surprises me that so many shops here had no pans available for sale. I could spend hours salivating over the many shapes and sizes of bundt pans available in America and want to cry that hardly any are available here. How could anyone not fall in love with this charming cake form? As you can see from the photos, I didn't even manage to get the chocolate drizzle on before a piece had gone!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bundt

For the filling :
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the cake batter :
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
3 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
12 tablespoons sour cream
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350

To make the filling :
In a large mixing bowl, beat peanut butter, cream cheese and butter until combined. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until combined. Mix in vanilla. Be sure to scrape down the sides. Pour in sugar and flour, mix until combined. Fit a pastry bag with a large plain tip and scoop the filling into the bag. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the batter :
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a medium metal or glass bowl, add cocoa and whisk in boiling water. Add in chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth. Mix in sour cream.
In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs, one at a time, and then beat in vanilla. Alternatively mix in the dry ingredients and the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. For example - mix in 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the cocoa mixture, another 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the cocoa mixture and finishing with the final 1/3 of the flour. Mixing just until combined with each addition.

Spray a bundt pan with a nonstick spray that has flour included (like Baker's Joy or Pam with Flour). Spoon a little less than half of the batter into bottom of the bundt pan. Using the pastry bag that has the peanut butter mixture, carefully pipe a ring of the filling over the center of the chocolate batter. Pour the remaining batter on top and gently tap the pan to remove air bubbles.

Bake until top springs back when lightly touched or a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs attached - about 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the cake and carefully turn over - remove the pan and let cool completely.