Sunday, January 22, 2012

Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

For Christmas, I received Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, a cookbook I have been eyeing for quite a while.  While I missed the boat on Tuesdays With Dorie, I am no less excited to start tasting the delicious cookies, pies, tarts and brownies in her beautiful book.  Last weekend, I baked her recipe for Bill’s Big Carrot Cake when Dan and I had some friends over for dinner (two thumbs up, for sure!).  This weekend, I baked the Brown Sugar Bundt Cake, with apples, ground walnuts and raisins.  This cake was delightful warm from the oven and dusted with powdered sugar, but it is just as delicious, if not more so, the next day (which I just confirmed as I write this).  Dorie says it will keep for 5 days wrapped at room temperature, but I don’t see that happening around here.

One thing I really enjoy about her book is the “Playing Around” suggestions she gives for variations of each recipe.  For this recipe, she suggests upping the nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds) and omitting the fresh and dried fruit.  I can only imagine that a slice of this cake made with hazelnuts, accompanied by a steaming latte, would be heavenly.

Brown Sugar Bundt Cake
Makes one 12-cup Bundt cake

2¼ cups all purpose flour
½ cup ground hazelnuts or walnuts (I used walnuts, ground in the mini food processor)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 medium apples (or pears), peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch dice
½ cup raisins (or diced prunes)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Butter a 9- to 10-inch Bundt pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place the rack in the center of the oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground nuts, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning with one third of the flour mixture and one half of the buttermilk; repeat; and then finish with the last of the flour mixture.  Mix only until the ingredients are incorporated and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.  Stir in the apples (or pears) and raisins (or prunes).  Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter with a spatula.

Bake in the preheated oven (directly on the rack) for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a wooden skewer (or knife) inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes before unmolding the cake onto a plate.  To serve, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

(Recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

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