All manner of baked goods are welcome in my oven: bread, cookies, cake, quiche- I am an equal opportunity baker. Circumstance often directs me towards cookies, though: they are easier to transport, easier to share at casual gatherings (no need for knife, plates, forks, napkins, all of which are in short supply in the meeting rooms I often give out my sweets in) and have a longer shelf life than most cakes. Nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t the quickest way to all-round baking prowess. So, every now and again I try to branch out.
My biggest challenge in the branching out department is the Bundt cake. I love the idea of baking a ring-shaped, ridged beauty and dusting it with powdered sugar so it comes out looking like the movie star among cakes. In practice, however, mine end up looking like what you see above. And that’s on a good day.
Once, I overfilled my pan so badly the cake started oozing batter from its top after about five minutes in the oven and never stopped. Not even when it had baked twice as long as the recipe indicated (I gave up at that point, ripped open a package of store-bought stroopwafels and called it dessert). At other times I have overbaked so badly that the cake would not budge from the pan without a soak in hot, soapy water or had half a cake come out of the pan, with the other half of the cake clinging to the Bundt like it had abandonment issues.
Not to be deterred, I keep trying. That most recent creation up there is an apple-orange Bundt cake I made to bring to the man’s parents’ house. These are v. sweet people, who would have second helpings even if I’d burned it to a crisp, just to be polite. Still, when I surveyed my efforts before packing up the cake, I almost decided to leave it at home. It ain’t a pretty sight, is it? But then I tasted one of the bits that fell off, and changed my mind. This apple cake is moist, full of apple pieces and just the right level of sweet. I added the zest of half an orange along with the orange juice, upping the intrigue the orange flavor lends to the batter- my first right Bundt decision ever. I take this as a good sign, and one saying I should keep going.
Next time, I might even figure out how to get the cake out of the pan in one piece.
Apple Bundt Cake
I tweaked the original recipe (found on www.designspongeonline.com) a little, adding orange zest, leaving out walnuts and adding fewer apples than called for, then mixing them in with the batter instead of making layers. Below is the recipe with my tweaks. Also, I could easily fill my Bundt pan plus a round cake pan with the amount of batter the recipe creates. Probably best to check the size of your pan corresponds to the size in the recipe, and have an extra pan ready to take left-overs.
5 apples, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
375 g flour
15 g baking powder
generous pinch of salt
400g white sugar
240 ml vegetable oil
juice from 1 orange
zest from ½ orange
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease and flour a 26CM Bundt pan. Combine the apple pieces with 1 tbsp sugar, and the cinnamon. In a second bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate container, combine sugar, oil, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and eggs. Beat at high speed until smooth, then stir in the flour mixture. Fold in the apple pieces. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out.