I absolutely love Bundt cakes. I sense that I have a kindred spirit in Matt Lewis (of Baked), with his glorious collection of beautiful Bundt pans. I’ve tried several times to restrain myself from amassing my own crazy stash of pans – and so far, I feel I’ve been somewhat successful. That being said, I think I still own a good 4-5 Bundt pans.
The wonderful thing about Bundt cakes is that they are simple and relatively easy to make. You don’t need to bother with frosting – perhaps just a simple glaze to drizzle over the top. This is especially good if you prefer the cake over the frosting, like yours truly. The trickiest part may be unmolding the cake from the intricate crevices of the pan; if you practice making enough Bundts, however, it is possible to learn how to craftily butter and flour the pan for smooth release. You also become more discerning of which Bundt pans are suited for particular batters and cake crumb. For such a humble kind of cake, it can be an art, that’s for sure.
This week’s Baked Sunday Mornings Bundt cake was a “Tunnel of Fudge” Cake incorporating ground hazelnuts for a Tunnel of Hazelnut Fudge Cake. I swapped out the hazelnuts for ground, toasted almonds – not being a big fan of hazelnuts. The batter is a dark chocolate batter made rich with the incorporation of dark cocoa.
The tricky part of making this particular cake is understanding when exactly to take it out of the oven. You want that thick, under-baked channel of fudgy goodness in the middle of the cake, so you can’t use the toothpick method to determine doneness. I trusted both my oven’s temp and the suggested 40 minute baking time designated in the recipe. When I removed the cake from the oven, the top was delicately crunchy, and the sides appeared done. As it cooled, it caved in a touch, which further confirmed for me that the middle was still soft. I eased the sides of the cake away from the pan gently with a metal icing spatula to loosen it, and let the cake cool overnight in the pan.
The next morning, I was relieved that the cake released, for the most part, from the pan and onto the plate – aside for one messy chunk on one side. With some gentle coaxing, I removed the errant chunk from the pan, patched it back onto the cake and dusted it with confectioners’ sugar, to hide the mess and provide final presentation. The taste of this cake is quite good. The crunchy and chewy texture from the ground toasted almonds is especially pleasing against the soft, gooey dark fudge center. This cake is really scrumptious paired with a cup of hot coffee. In place of the hazelnuts, I found the almonds to be just dandy! This cake is also wickedly good cold.
The second Bundt cake I experimented with this weekend was scheduled quite a while ago with Baked Sunday Mornings, but I never got around to it – possibly because I was out of poppy seeds! It’s a delightful Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Brown Butter Glaze. I’ve been eyeing this recipe in Baked Elements for quite some time, and figured I may as well tackle it as we wrap up this book.
A delicate richness in this cake comes from the addition of cream cheese in the batter. I once made an especially delicious Poppy Seed Cake from Cooking Light that also included cream cheese, so this reminded me of that recipe straight away. A ribbon of poppy seed filling containing a half cup – yes, a whopping half cup – of blue poppy seeds meanders lazily through the center of this buttery, dense cake. Poppy seed lovers rejoice – this is heavy on the poppy seeds! I’ve always been a big fan, especially when nutty poppy seeds are paired with citrus – as they are in this recipe, with the bright flavor inclusion of orange zest.
While the cake came out of the Bundt pan cleanly (phew!), I suspected right away that I may have over-baked it a touch – and I did. It has a delicious buttery flavor and crumb, and the poppy seed trail in the center is certainly whimsical, but I will definitely dial the baking time back a little bit, perhaps to 50 minutes instead of an hour, the next time I make this cake. There will be a next time, as I really enjoyed it. Again, this is another cake perfectly paired with coffee, or perhaps especially, tea.
The glaze crowning this cake is heavenly. It begins with brown butter – need I say more? – and incorporates powdered sugar, milk, orange juice, orange zest, and finally, (more) toasted poppy seeds. It provides a wonderful extra punch of citrus and poppy flavor. I did find that it was a bit thick when I attempted pouring it onto the cake, and it didn’t drizzle down the sides as I wanted it to, so I thinned it with more milk to achieve this effect a touch more. It didn’t yield the prettiest results – there’s nothing to quickly ruin a perfectly turned-out Bundt than a gloppy-looking glaze – but I think the ribbon of poppy-seed filling is the “a-ha” moment of this cake when sliced, anyhow.
To try your hand at both of these lovely Bundt cakes, head on over to Baked Sunday Mornings via these links:
By the way, I used Baked’s signature Bundt pan to make both of these cakes. I know, perhaps I am hawking it a little bit more for my friends at Baked, but truly, this is a great investment for any baker. It’s been worth every cent I paid for it. This is a standard Bundt pan to end all standard Bundt pans. I adore my fancy, swirly Heritage Bundt, but not all Bundt cake recipes work in it (it has very sharp, peaked crevices that can really grab the cake crumb). If you want to go for a good, fail-safe, heavy-duty pan that will do the job – and release the cake easily – try out Baked’s pan. It’s fabulous.