Saturday, April 2, 2011

Caramel Bundt Cake and a Blog Birthday

Somehow, amazingly, it's been a whole year since this blog was born. 281 posts (this will be #282) and over 1000 comments later and I'm still baking - much to Mr Cake's chagrin. ;-)

It's been an eventful year for us - it's amazing how much has been crammed into it. Aside from me making lots of crazy cakes Mr Cake and I graduated last April, and then our hometown got all shaken up a couple of times - the Arts Centre pillars we stood under for our graduation photos won't be seeing any new grads for a while. I also became an Aunty, though I still haven't met my nephew - Sister Cake, more Facebook photos are required!

Over the course of the year I've been to lots of awesome food events, some wonderful restaurants, and I've even been served a wonderful three-course dinner at home by Mr Cake. Astonishingly the blog hasn't extended my waistband too much - sticking to some crazy principles, heading to the gym pretty often and spending every other spare minute I have writing about food probably helps prevent me going overboard eating!

I've worked in a few different jobs in the past year (I'm a contractor), which is great as it allows me to fatten up each new set of colleagues just to the brink of diabetes and then move on. ;-) I'm only three weeks into my current role, but a workmate finished up today and it seemed only right to bring cake as a farewell gesture. Start as you mean to go on, right?


This recipe caught my eye when Megan over at It's All About Family and Food wrote about the one she made - she even has the same Bavarian Bundt tin I haveso clearly it was meant to be! I looove this tinned caramel - okay, it's not as good as if you made your own caramel from scratch but that takes lots of time and effort, and sometimes shortcuts are vital if anything is to get done at all.


I've adjusted the recipe a little - I didn't think it was caramelly enough so I've increased the amount, both in the batter and for the streaky caramel bits running through the cake. Since Bundt cakes are often left un-iced (less effort = yay!) it's good to have a bit more moisture inside - sort of icing inside, maybe?


The recipe was fairly quick to put together - nothing complicated. The flour and buttermilk are added alternately in batches. I adhered to this though I'm not totally sure what it does - I think it might help retain the structure when adding the wet ingredients? - so if you're a bit more knowledgeable on that let me know!


Yoghurt is a perfectly good substitute for buttermilk if you don't have any/prefer not to buy it because you only need a cup and then you'll have half a carton left in the fridge. Try to avoid adding sweetened yoghurt, or maybe reduce the sugar by a couple of tablespoons if you do, but otherwise it should work fine. 


If you have a finickety tin like mine you'll want to grease it well to make sure the cake falls out easily. There are some great sprays that mimic the effect of flouring tins - Sprink and Bakers' Delight are examples that spring to mind - but if you don't have that you can do what I did; spray with canola oil (or indeed brush it on), and then use a brush to ensure it's evenly distributed. Then you add some flour, and tip it all around until you have an even coating.


When it's all white and powdery turn it upside-down and tap it hard over the sink a few times to shake out any excess flour - you don't want clumps, just a fine coating.


The gooey strips of caramel in the cake are created by adding the batter in thirds, and spooning it around the centre of the tin. I experimented a bit with mine and also tried bits of Mars bar (one layer of caramel, one of Mars) but the caramel was better so in the recipe below I've just doubled the amount of caramel and omitted the Mars bar. If you have one on hand you should probably just eat it. ;-)

I may have popped a wee piece in my mouth at this stage - promise you won't tell?

 
My cake was a little dark on top due to our super-hot oven - I checked the oven thermometer when I noticed how dark it was and it was 20 degrees too hot - if your oven is similarly fierce I'd recommend you err on the cool side.

It was pretty nice - the extra caramel inside gave it a bit of decadence, and while the cake itself wasn't overwhelmingly rich in caramel flavour it was sort of gently there in the background. It would also be lovely rewarmed and served with caramel sauce as dessert - because you can never have too much sugar in your life. ;-)

If I could, I'd make cake for all of you guys - thanks so much for reading, and for all your comments and support over the past year! I love hearing all your ideas and stories so please keep piping up in the comments, and I'll do my best to keep rambling on about totally unhealthy but delicious food. :-D


Caramel Bundt Cake (adapted from The Food Librarian)
Ingredients
2 tins caramel
225g butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

Cream butter and brown sugar, then add one tin of caramel, beating until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Beat in the vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. On low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk and beat again. Repeat for the remaining ingredients (flour, buttermilk, flour).

Scoop 1/3 of the batter into the Bundt pan. Spoon half of the second tin of caramel around the pan, to create a sort of channel. Add another 1/3 of the batter and repeat with the remaining caramel. Add the rest of the batter and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out of the pan. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

3 comments:

kaz said...

Happy Blog Birthday!

Your baking often inspires me to rattle the baking pans and whip up some gorgeous creation

If my workmates knew of your influence, they'd be celebrating you too. It was afghans for morning tea last Friday :)

Anne said...

Congrats Mrs Cake! And congrats on that fine looking cake. My word!

I love your blog and while I'd love to say that you've inspired me to bake, you've more inspired me to find good cafes with good baking! I'm too impatient :-/ But on that note, great baking to be found at Plentifull Deli in Mt Vic. You should pay a visit. Fantastic deli food.

Happy birthday again! Keep up the good work!

Mrs Cake said...

Kaz, thanks! And so glad to hear you're raising the cholesterol of your workmates too. ;-)

Anne, thank you! And finding decent baked goods in cafes is a very worthy pursuit, especially when you offer recommendations to me. ;-) I had heard of Plentifull but your endorsement puts it firmly on The List, I will have to pay it a visit soon. Thanks!

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