Monday, May 10, 2010

My First Bundt Cake

It is always such an honor and pleasure to make a birthday cake for someone. As much as birthdays remind us how quickly time is passing by, they also take us back to being a kid again- blowing out candles on a birthday cake with puffy cheeks and eyes tightly closed as we make a wish. 

Yesterday, V and I threw a birthday bash for our extra-sweet downstairs neighbor, inviting a dozen of her friends over for dinner, cake and ice cream. Neighbor girl and I are very close, being only 2 weeks apart in age, and with our lives running parallel in some respects- we are both recent graduates engaged in the dreaded job search. Personality wise we are as different as chalk and cheese which only makes the friendship that much more interesting. 

Two weeks ago, on my birthday, neighbor girl announced that she had a surprise for me. I HATE surprises and protested feebly as she folded me into her mini car, and we set off on the Interstate highway. Neighbor girl drives like a bloody maniac, swerving into lanes, cutting people off willy-nilly. "I'm not so much a defensive driver", she told me cheerfully as I buried my head in my hands and wished I was the praying kind, and a minute later "Ooh, the fuel gauge is on empty, how much time do you think I have before I run out of gas...20 minutes? 30 minutes?". At which point I told her to take the next exit and find a gas station- or else. Anyway, we ended up in one piece, miraculously, at Kitchen Conservatory and she handed me a gift card and ordered me to start shopping. How sweet is that?

A bundt pan had been on my wish list for a while (they look pretty and the cake is large enough to feed a crowd), so together we chose the sturdy, heavy sunflower pan from Nordicware and also splurged on a bottle of the finest vanilla extract. It was only fitting that the first time I used the pan was for neighbor girl's birthday cake.

The birthday girl requested "chocolate cake with lots of stuff in it, like nuts and candy bits and things, you know" and I considered the chocolate part and ignored the rest. The chocolate stout cake on Smitten Kitchen sounded very rich and moist so that's the recipe I decided to go with.

Just look at the grooves and nooks on the bundt pan. Getting a cake stuck in this pan would be an absolute nightmare, so I highly recommend using a special baking spray, a combination of oil and flour which really coats the surface of the pan. I used the brand "Pam for Baking" but there are other brands available too. Alternatively, use soft butter (not melted) and brush it into every crevice of the pan with utmost patience, then flour the pan thoroughly.

Chocolate Bundt Cake
1. Prep-
(a) Prepare the bundt pan very well.
(b) Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Dry mix. Whisk together-
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 12 tsp. baking soda
34 tsp. salt

3. Wet mix I. Heat together to a simmer-
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup strong beer like stout or porter (I used vanilla porter). This is about two-thirds of the bottle.

Stir in 34 cup cocoa powder and whisk well. Let it cool for 15 minutes.

4. Wet mix II. Cream together-
2 large eggs
23 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

5. Mix the cocoa mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in flour mixture gently to make a thick glossy batter. Pour into bundt pan and bake for 40 minutes or so, until inserted toothpick comes clean. As you wait for the cake to bake, drink the rest of the beer from the bottle, no point wasting good beer.

6. Cool for an hour before holding your breath and turning out the cake.

The cake was spongy, sturdy, moist and had a wonderful deep chocolate flavor. The beer taste is discernible as a malty undertone.

If you have a favorite bundt pan recipe, I'd love to know about it. I have a feeling I'll be using this pan often, to make self-decorating cakes.

Come back on Wednesday for 3 easy appetizer recipes. Have a good week!

49 comments:

  1. Looks gr8 and lovely shape...so unique :)

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  2. what a lovely unique pattern...looks yummy! Well, my hubby is a one helluva maniac when it comes to driving!

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  3. Lovely and I bet absolutely delicious cake. Nupur! Don't blame you I hate thrill rides.

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  4. Doesn't look like your first, it has come lovely.

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  5. Wish you a happy belated Birthday. It was fun to read about your friend's high speed adventure with you along side! :D

    Love the color of that Bundt cake. Budnt cake moulds are fun to use, beautiful designs and cakes always look festive. Enjoy.

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  6. What a lovely friend you've made, how nice that she is so close and provides surprises of the "good kind". :-) My favorite bundt cake is also chocolate, Walnut Chocolate Cake, made with black walnuts, which are a Missouri specialty albeit some difficult to find. My favorite bundt pan is half the size, works perfectly for half a recipe.

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  7. Looks really yummy have to make it..may be for my son's b'day

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  8. Where is that bundt pan ? I have never seen one that produces such rich detailed result.

    How sweet and crazy of neighbor girl

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  9. Beautiful pattern on the cake...looks lovely and delicious. Your neighbour girl is lucky and ofcourse u too :).

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  10. Wow.. the cake looks classic. :) And I love the flower shaped mould that you have used. And lovely clicks dear. :)

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  11. Wow! The cake looks lovely...and i am craving it :)

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  12. love tht bundt pan and offcorse the cake...seems u r a great baker...can see intricate details of the pan...baked perfectly...

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  13. I like the way you take care to mention the temperature to bake at (F/C ) ... most people just leave it at 'bake for 20 mins' etc.
    Nice looking cake Nupur.
    And thanks for leaving nice lines on my story at my space. :-)

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  14. * pant pant * Chocolate! Bundt Cake!

    So, Nupur, what would it take for you to move to Canada and be my neighbour?

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  15. That's such a pretty cake! The floral pattern is quite striking. You're such a sweet neighbor! :)

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  16. Haha.. that car-ride description was really funny.. LOL! :D :D

    Your bundt cake looks just beautiful!! Intricate! First time? Really? Well incredibly great then!

    Good luck with the job search to both of you!

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  17. That's an adorable cake. Very pretty pan.

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  18. Hi Nupur - The cake looks AWESOME! :)...will try it sometime soon

    My favourite undt cake is the Kahlua-Vodka cake..:)

    Smita

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  19. Wow that is a beautiful bundt pan! It's such a co-incidence I had been lusting after and finally bought a bundt-form pan just yesterday! I wanted to try out the silicone bakeware so got one from the wiltons line. I've heard they solve the cake sticking problem. Let's see if that works.

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  20. Here's a really good bundt cake recipe and has been tried and tested a few times by me and my friends. In fact it helped me win 2nd place at a cake-baking contest in my apartment complex :)

    http://www.recipes4cakes.com/bundtcakes/oreo_cake.htm

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  21. Happy BD to neighbor gal! The window sill looks awesome. The cake looks perfect.

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  22. that looks gorgeous! i have seen these pans but shied away because of the same nightmare of preparing them before baking!

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  23. Nupur, you're lucky having a nice gf. :) I also wanted to try this stout cake since a long time. I've been looking for dutch process cocoa since a long time but find hard. it really sucks!! :(
    well, did u use dutch process cocoa here? Cake looks so dark and got a nice deep color of cocoa. :)

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  24. Even most of my friends are totally opposite of me .. guess thats why they are my frnds :P

    btw would love to check out a snap of bundt pan.. never seen one ..

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  25. this is such a intricate design. I am sure you worked hard to grease the whole thing so that the design comes out as clean as possible.
    Now I feel like buying a bundt pan :)

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  26. cake looks cute and perfect! gud job!

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  27. The cake looks great. A Bundt pan is on my wish list too for a long time!

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  28. Wow, That's simply a superb bundt pan, You r lucky and so is your friend!!, Hoping I could have been your neighbour!, looks so inviting, and the scenery behind is absolutely beautiful, a perfect click!!, I will have to try this without a bundt pan!!

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  29. What a beautiful first cake! I highly recommend baking spray, too; one of the other popular brands is Bakers Joy.

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  30. That is one awesome bundt pan! I have one which is similar (http://servedwithlove.blogspot.com/2010/02/bread-pudding.html), but nowhere as detailed as yours. Think I am going to go bundt pan shopping soon!

    Loved reading this post, esp the car ride description.

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  31. Loved the minute details cake has come up with ..pretty looking delicious cake :).I havent made bundt cake so cant tell much ,but this looks so delicious.I also tried some of smitten kitchen recipes ,they have come out nice for me.And God save me from those crazy rides! Nupur you are really brave :)..
    hugs and smiles

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  32. Priti, Az- Thank you!

    Preeti Kashyap- Too bad! Jokes apart, these maniac drivers are a danger to themselves and others!!

    indosungod- Yes, especially since I am a very "safety first" kind of gal :)

    Asha- Thank you! Yes, I agree the bundt pans look really festive and special without any effort on our part ;)

    Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal- Oh, the cake pan does all the work, I only had to mix the batter up.

    Alanna- Oh that walnut chocolate cake is the next one I am going to make in this pan. Love the recipe and love the story even more.

    Suparna- Well, how old is your son? Personally, I wouldn't make a beer cake for young kids :)

    Bong Mom- Do check the Nordicware site. They have so many cute pans, some of my favorites apart from this sunflower are the rose, fleur de lis and chrysanthemum.

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  33. Life is beautiful!!!- Thanks, yes, we are both lucky to have each other.

    Nithya, Rachana Kothari, Sanyukta Gour(Bayes)- Thanks, the cake pan makes the details, I did not have to do a thing.

    Sharmila- I enjoyed your story and hope you will write more of them!

    Niranjana- Wouldn't it be easier for you to move down to St. Louis? :) Come visit anytime!

    The Housewife- She's a sweeter neighbor! Believe me, I would not do this for just anyone.

    SS- Thanks so much, and the intricate design is because of the bundt pan, not me!

    Divya Vikram, Rajee- Thanks :)

    Smita- Kahlua and vodka? :) sounds great, but I will readily admit that I hate using instant pudding mixes and boxed cake mix!

    magpie- You did?? There's no cake sticking problem as long as you spend 60 seconds spraying deeply into the pan. I am not a fan at all of the silicone bakeware but I sure hope you enjoy your pan!

    Reva Garde- How fun that your apartment complex has bake-offs! Cookies in a cake sounds so decadent.

    Anjali- Thank you!

    Nags- There's no nightmare at all, just take a few seconds to spray it well.

    Sonia- I used this baking cocoa (first one on this web page): http://www.equalexchange.coop/cocoa/
    And yes, it is alkali-processed (same as Dutch processed). Have you been looking for cocoa that is alkali-processed? That term is the same as Dutch processing.
    You live in Australia right? Perhaps contact some Australian food bloggers who bake (there are so many) and ask them to suggest brands or sources.

    Kanchan- See pictures of dozens of bundt pans here.

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  34. Mints!- With the flour-containing baking spray, it is not hard work at all, just took me a few seconds! It is definitely a nice pan to own to make large cakes that look so beautiful.

    Rekha shoban, notyet100- Thanks!

    jayasri- Yes, you could make this as a sheet cake or in whatever baking pans you own, but just be careful not to over-fill them (this recipes requires a 10-cup capacity pan).

    bhagyashri- Mine too, am so thrilled I finally own one.

    Nina- Thanks!

    Lydia- Oh the baking spray was a life saver in this case!

    aquadaze- Your pan is lovely, and the bread pudding looks great. I might have to buy more shapes slowly!

    Jaya- Thanks!

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  35. the chocolate cake makes me drool

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  36. Ha, same pinch, Nupur! :) I have the exact same sunflower pan! :) Except I didnt think it was a bundt pan... I always assumed bundt pans were the ones with a central protuberance that turn out cakes that look like a car tyre (with a hole in the middle). No? Educate me, woman! :)

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  37. Ooh the cake looks delish! And the pattern is so cool! You have outdone yourself as usual! Happy birthday to Neighbor Girl!

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  38. Very beautiful cake??
    Can you suggest a non-alcoholic substitute for beer?

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  39. Looks like blogger ate my previous comment. Happy belated birthday Nupur! The cake looks gorgeous and I bet it tasted just as wonderful.

    Mamatha

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  40. Niloufer Riyaz- Me too

    Shyam- I know, you have a full collection of them, don't you? :)
    You are right, the basic, traditional bundt pan does have a ring shape (allowing hot air in the oven to circulate around and bake the cake more evenly) but companies have started to make all kinds of fancy bundt pans now too, which may or may not have a ring shape.

    Sangeetha- Thank you so much!

    Anonymous- I don't know- perhaps black coffee would work but you'll have to experiment for yourself. It might be easier to look for a chocolate bundt cake recipe that does not contain beer (there are hundreds out there).

    Mamatha- Thank you so much! It is so nice to see you here, hope all is well.

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  41. lovely cake! can't wait to try it out. thanks for another great post.

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  42. It's a beautiful cake!

    I wish I had that view out your window!

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  43. Oh my that is one breathtaking cake!!! definitely one good turn deserves another :)

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  44. oooooohhh this looks sooooooo yummm... wish you were my neighbour :D

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