Time: About 2 hours
Fancy Factor: 4/5
One of my favorite cooking-related websites is Week of Menus. Written by Joanne Choi, a mother of young children who tries to provide, as she puts it, good cooking for people with too much on their plate. I’m sure we can all relate to that feeling. Recently, she’s done a series of recipes about bundt cakes and the chocolate raspberry bundt soaked in raspberry syrup caught my eye.
Something nice about bundt cakes is that they have a high degree of fancy with a relative minimum of work. The pans themselves are very grandly designed, some with arches and vaults worthy of a cathedral, others with giant ridges, and still others with rose patterns. With such a beautiful cake, there’s no need to frost or ice them, although a nice glaze moistens the cake and makes the architecture even more beautiful.
The ingredients are pretty simple (you can go to Joanne’s website for the exact recipe): All-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream, a chocolate bar broken into pieces, and raspberries.
First you combine the flour with the salt, baking powder, and baking soda. The recipe does not call for sifting the flour, but the organic Australian flour I buy here in Thailand is a little coarse, so sifting helps combine the ingredients while also lightening the flour. Next step, cream the butter in a mixer until it is light and fluffy, then beat in the sugar.
After the sugar and butter are combined, add the eggs one at a time, beating for about thirty seconds between each addition. Of course, you need scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often along the way (or buy a BeaterBlade, which combines the paddle attachment with silicon edging that scrapes down the bowl as it mixes) so that the ingredients are well-combined.
Then start adding the flour mixture and the sour cream (to which I had to add a little bit of yogurt as I didn’t have quite enough sour cream) in alternating parts.
The final step is to fold in the broken chocolate pieces and about half the raspberries. Now, the recipe calls for fresh raspberries but I found that frozen works just fine. Manually incorporate the chocolate and berries instead of using the mixer, so that you are sure they are evenly distributed.
Put the batter into a bundt cake mold and bake. I didn’t have a bundt cake mold but had been thinking about buying one. This recipe gave me the incentive to make the purchase. While comparing models, I decided to buy my first silicone baking mold. It is less expensive and supposedly easier to use (no need to butter and flour the mold – it just peels right off) than metal baking pans.
Overall, I was impressed by the ease of use, but for some reason the batter shifted in the pan, causing one side of the cake to be larger than the other. Maybe I need to place the pan on a tray before putting it in the oven?
While the cake baked, I made the glaze. This is a combination of the remaining berries, some sugar, and a little bit of orange juice. The berries are pureed and strained so you get a rich raspberry juice. The juice is then combined with the sugar and orange juice and cooked for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves. You can easily imagine how other fruits could be used instead of raspberries to produce tasty alternatives to the raspberry cake.
After the cake was done and had cooled a bit (although not completely), you begin brushing on the glaze. Notice how lopsided the cake is! I also think it is a little overcooked. When I checked the cake initially, the toothpick was coming out dirty, so I gave it a few more minutes. By the time the inside was done, the outside was a little too brown. Perhaps I need to lover the oven temperature a little?
I added the glaze in two layers, allowing about ten minutes for the first layer to absorb. There was a point where the cake seemed adequately glazed and I had used only about two-thirds of the raspberry glaze. In hindsight, I would go ahead and apply a third layer as there is not much risk of the cake being too moist.
The final product, served with some white chocolate and raspberry ice cream from New Zealand Ice Cream. You can se this slice came from the thin side of the cake! Overall, the flavor was nice, although I think the cake was slightly overcooked and just a little dry. I would like to play around with this recipe again, maybe adding more berries to the batter or else maybe a little more sour cream. In any case, thanks to Joanne for this nice recipe!