Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two Bundt Cakes: Strawberry and Root Beer

I have an absolute weakness for Bundt cakes -I feel they are the epitome of home baking. I don't think you are ever going to see a Bundt cake on any upscale restaurant menu. Actually, I've never seen one on any restaurant menu, but then I don't get out much. On the other hand, they are often toted to potlucks, family dinners, reunions and church suppers, and are shown in the movies, as actually does happen in real life if one is lucky, being offered in homes to both guests, as in Erin Brockovich, and hostesses, as in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This Strawberry Bundt Cake is a particular favorite with 'Excellent!' written next to its recipe. It is adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn and this recipe is for a 12-cup 'Made in USA' Bundt pan I recently bought.

Strawberry Bundt Cake
In mixer bowl beat:
1 white cake mix
1 c. strawberry puree (use fresh and dead ripe or sweetened, frozen and defrosted strawberries)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 egg
Blend low 1 minute. Scrape. Beat 2 minutes medium speed. Pour into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan and bake 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan on rack and cool completely. Meanwhile, make frosting.

Strawberry Frosting
In mixer bowl on low speed beat:
8 oz. cream cheese
2/3 c. powdered sugar
Scrape. Add:
1/4 c. strawberry preserves (or strawberry puree) and a couple drops red food coloring. Beat one minute on low then gently spoon onto completely cooled cake.

Yes, this is a very ugly cake. I was impatient and didn't let it cool before taking it out of the pan. Oh well, looks aren't everything, right? This Root Beer Bundt Cake is a new recipe I recently came across and immediately sized down to a smaller 6-cup Bundt pan size before baking. When my kids were little I bought a 6-cup Bundt pan which is half the size most recipes are written for. I usually halve most Bundt cake recipes, including the above Strawberry Bundt Cake, and reduce the baking time (25 minutes for both these). I really like this size better for serving my family -you can bake a cake 'just because' without having 12 portions to eat. I halved and tested A LOT of recipes during, what the kids remember as, The Bundt Cake Recipe Period. This Root Beer Bundt Cake is adapted from a recipe in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Mat Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I added root beer extract for a more pronounced root beer flavor. Be careful and don't get too generous if adding it, as it is seriously concentrated.

Root Beer Bundt Cake
Melt in microwave:
1/4 c. butter
1 c. root beer made using cane sugar -do not use diet or brands made with corn syrup. Home made root beer would be best, of course.
1/8 t. root beer extract (optional)
1/3 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey's European style)
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
Let cool a bit. Beat in a small bowl then add:
1 egg
In separate bowl whisk together:
1 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Gently fold the two mixtures together and do not over beat. Pour into greased and floured 6-cup Bundt pan and bake for 25 minutes (35-40 if doubled for a 12-cup pan) or until tests done. Cool completely in pan on wire rack (unless you want an ugly cake). Loosen sides of cake and invert onto rack. Make frosting.

Root Beer Frosting
Mix together:
2 T. soft butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
few drops - scant 1/8 t. root beer extract (optional)
2 T. root beer or amount needed to make a smooth, spreadable frosting. Spoon on and gently spread on cake.

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