Every so often, a book crosses my path that is so beautiful, I have to have it. This is one of them. I had not worked from a cookbook for a while, but Beautiful Bundts: 100 Recipes for Delicious Cakes and More by Julie Anne Hession (Robert Rose Inc., 2017) has some gorgeous photos, taken by the author herself. Usually a photographer is brought in to do the photos, but in this case, she learned how to do it herself, and the results are stunning.
Then there are the cakes. Picking one was hard. I have started with Spiced Cranberry Orange Pecan Bundt — perfect for the holiday season. It has all the flavours of Thanksgiving or Christmas: cinnamon, tart cranberries, nuts, citrus, topped off with the wonderful texture that only sour cream can impart. Oh, and a layer of sugared nuts in the middle and on top. Sublime.
The sweetness in the cake is played off of the tart cranberries. It’s almost, but not quite, like a pound cake. For Christmas, I will also do the Spiced Citrus Fruitcake Bundt (all fruitcakes jokes aside). Speaking of fruitcakes, I found a couple from last year that were put aside for safe keeping. They’re delicious!
As for the Bundt cakes themselves, the variety of pans out there is amazing. Pick a shape you like, grease it well with a cooking spray, preferably with flour in it. Make sure you get all the nooks and crannies. Just make sure in this case it is a 10-cupper.
Spiced Cranberry Orange Pecan Bundt Cake
Makes 10-12 servings
• 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 3 large eggs, at room temperature
• Grated zest of 2 oranges
• 1/2 freshly squeezed orange juice
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
• 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
You will need one 10-cup Bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 325 degrees for a dark pan.
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
2. In a small bowl, stir together pecans, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon.
3. In the stand mixer bowl, beat the remaining granulated sugar and butter on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in orange zest, orange juice and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes.
4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and sour cream, making three additions of flour and two of sour cream, and beating until incorporated. Beat in cranberries.
5. Transfer half the batter to prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with half the pecan mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and pecan mixture. Using a thin knife or skewer, marble the pecan mixture by swirling through the batter several times. Smooth the top.
6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 45-65 minutes or until deep golden brown and a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely. (I always loosen a bit around the edges and centre first with a small spatula to facilitate it coming out of the pan.) Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
Sue Van Slooten teaches cooking and baking classes at her home on beautiful Big Rideau Lake, Ontario, Canada. She specializes in small classes for maximum benefit. Follow her homesteading adventures and check out her class offerings at www.SVanSlooten.com. If you wish, you can email Sue at email@example.com. She would be thrilled to hear from you! Read all of Sue’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.