The other week I took a couple of days off work, and with nothing much planned other than rest, relaxation and a lie in, I made sure that the eggs and butter were out of the fridge before I went to bed in order for them to be at that all important ‘room temperature’ so I could bake the next morning. I didn’t really anticipate the morning starting at 3am, but when I realised sleep was not going to return, and the lie in was definitely not going to happen, I got up, put apron on, and got started.
I had oranges and buttermilk to use which provided a guide for the recipe search and I’d spent a little time at the weekend looking through my books and converting recipes from cups and sticks to grams (the most important part of my prep recently as it’s always a little too much for my mathematically challenged brain first thing in the morning - or even the middle of the night). The Orange Ricotta Pound Cake from Cake Keeper Cakes caught my eye as a good showcase for the rose bundt tin. I swapped the ricotta for buttermilk, but increased the butter from 168g to 220g in order to compensate for the reduced fat. I used wholemeal flour and once again reduced the sugar content. I also added a bag of dried cranberries as I’d had my eye on a couple of orange and cranberry loaf cakes recently an they seem to be paired frequently. I think all of that messing around might have been a little too much. It needed more ... flavour. By using wholemeal flour and in reducing both the sugar and fat content there was too much taken away, wholemeal flour can also be quite bitter and a bit of additional sweetness might have balanced this. The texture was also affected it was a dense cake, again I’m not sure whether the culprit is the flour or fat - possibly both. I think using plain flour would’ve made a big difference, perhaps half and half? I would also add a touch more citrus, as I said previously the oranges I’ve been using recently haven’t had much of a zing to them. The cranberries were a nice touch, they hold their form so well and the little zing of sharpness when you bite into on is lovely.
Orange Buttermilk Pound Cake
Based very loosely on a recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes
450g flour (I used wholemeal)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of two oranges
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 tsp water
Preheat oven 165C, grease bundt tin and dust with flour.
Beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping side of bowl periodically
Add eggs one at a time, scrape bowl again
Add zest, juice and vanilla
Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl
Add one third of flour mixture to mixing bowl with mixer on low speed, followed by half the buttermilk, another third of the flour, buttermilk and last of flour mixing well after each addition and not forgetting to scrape the bowl
Fold in cranberries
Place batter into tin, bake until golden brown approx 1 hour 10 minutes
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely
Once cool make the glaze by stirring water and marmalade in a saucepan over a low heat until the marmalade melts then brush the glaze over the cake
Second on the list was a whole-wheat honey nut cake again from Cake Keeper Cakes (I really can’t recommend this book enough). I wanted to make another cake that has a layer of filling running through it, in a more suitable tin than the rose bundt that I used for the Cardamom Cake. I reduced the sugar again but the layer of honey running through with the nuts and the caramel glaze added plenty of additional sweetness. It was a favourite of a few of the tasters.
Whole-wheat and Honey Nut Bundt Cake
Cake Keeper Cakes
28g softened butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups walnuts or pecans coarsely chopped (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
300g whole-wheat flour (original recipe 200g plain flour, 100g whole-wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
150g light brown sugar (reduced from 175g)
56g granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Grease bundt tin and dust with flour
Preheat oven to 180C
Make the filling by combining the flour, butter and cinnamon in a bowl until crumbly then add the nuts and honey.
Whist together buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs
Combine cake dry ingredients
Beat together butter and sugar in mixer or with electric whisk on medium high speed for 5 minutes
Lower the speed on the mixer, add one third of flour mixture to mixing bowl with mixer on low speed, followed by half the buttermilk mixture, another third of the flour, buttermilk and last of flour mixing well after each addition and not forgetting to scrape the bowl
Beat on high for one minute
Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan, spoon the filling as evenly as possibly over the base layer then add the rest of the batter, smoothing the top with a spatula.
Bake for 50 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely
Make the Glaze by bringing the sugar, honey and buttermilk to boil in a small pan, reduce the heat and cook for 7 - 9 minutes until caramel coloured, stirring occasionally
Remove from the heat, stir in vanilla and allow to cool for 10 minutes before pouring over the cake letting the glaze drip down the sides
Allow to cool for about half an hour before serving
Lest the sunflower tin feel left out I also made the Pumpkin Spice Cake that I’ve made previously, I wanted to play around a bit with the spices - basically by being more generous with them all which I think worked, it can take it - and it also took care of the last of the buttermilk.
My sister paid an impromptu visit later that day, so I knew that between her, my dad and various neighbours and colleagues I could easily offload todays output - so I carried on.
Finally I made a Pumpkin and Ginger Spice Cake from Katrina of She’s in the Kitchen. Now this is just lovely, I’ve had several requests for the recipe and will definitely make it again - the original is for ‘Texas’ muffins which I had to google and discovered that they’re just very large muffin tins, some of which I happened to have (probably the result of yet another compulsive Lakeland shopping trip). Katrina suggests that this recipe will make two 8” cakes or one 8” and six muffins. I used a bundt tin and also got six muffins.
Pumpkin and Ginger Cake/Muffins
1 tin of pumpkin puree
275g soft brown sugar (reduced from 2 cups/350g)
225g melted butter
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (Katrina suggests cider or apple juice)
525g flour (wholemeal)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 1/2 cups crystalised ginger, chopped
1 cup currants (optional, but I still have loads left from Christmas and so added them)
Mix together the melted butter, pumpkin and sugar
Add eggs and mix well
Add fruit juice
Sift together the dry ingredients and then and to wet mix
Fold in the ginger and currants
Fill the pans/muffin cases half full and bake the cake for 40 minutes for the cake and 25 for the muffins at 180C.