IT’S MY TURN!!!!!
And there you have it folks, the battle cry of children everywhere, particularly those who are last in the pecking order.
Somewhere in my childhood, my mother started baking cakes. AH, BAKING. It is pure magic and the kind of science that can make you a little bit nuts and a whole lot proud. It’s cinnamon and spice and everything nice and never to be trusted to a person who can’t pinch more than an inch.
It’s butter at the right temperature whizzed up with sugar and eggs and vanilla. It’s the right combination of love and determination. Much like a marriage where each partner gives 50%. Unless you forget the baking powder. And then you might be out of luck.
My mother gave me that. She gave me the love of baking. She just knew what she was doing. No one had to teach her, she taught herself. She didn’t go to a special school, she didn’t use silicone spatulas or use Tahitian vanilla. She used the old school love-the kind Marie Barrone had in “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
She knew by the smell and the feel of a cake when it was done-I don’t think I have ever seen her use a toothpick to test it. She has had the same pitfalls that every baker has-epic failures, and successes-at church bake sales, her cakes would sell out BEFORE the bake sale. People, that is impressive. Her pound cakes alone are worth walking 800 miles for.
I didn’t learn to bake by baking along with her, our kitchen was small. But I saw how much she loved it-how much she loved pleasing people and sharing her food. How a cake beautifully frosted can be a triumph. And how to fix it when one of your daycare kids puts their handprint on it.
It wasn’t until I left home that I started baking. And then one recipe would turn into ten others to try. And then that desire to perfect the baking skill turned into Christmases spent making treats for those I love, my husband being the ever willing guinea pig. And then it became contagious…that need to share the baked goods with others.
And then, a little over two years ago, I found all of you and for the first time in my life, I found a group of people who understood how baking the perfect dessert and the discovery of a great recipe can make you feel like you’re sliding down a rainbow with the pot of gold on your hip. How failing in the kitchen can make a grown woman throw a full blown hissy fit. How eating the batter isn’t frowned upon. And the right equipment is necessary and following directions is something your mother taught you for a reason.
Thank you, to all of you, for the past few years. Thank you to the brilliant Dorie Greenspan and Laurie for bringing us all together. Some of my greatest moments spent in the kitchen with the hum of the food processor and mixer have been in the company of all of you. Some right down the street, some many miles-even an ocean away. I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything.
Well, maybe for a brownie. ;) KIDDING!
So, this cake gave a lot of people fits. And for that I apologize. This cake stuck in the crevices of the pan, fell out while being turned out, and was your basic nightmare. And others had success. I had a hard time choosing this-I am not a huge fan of bundt cakes, BUT, throw in some sour cream and I AM IN!
Full of walnuts, cinnamon, chocolate, and sour cream-y goodness. It’s the kind of cake that would sell out before the bake sale. And that makes me proud. :)
Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking From My Home To Yours”
For the Swirl:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden) or dried currants (I omitted these)
2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
For the Cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 to 10 inch (12 cup) Bundt pan, dust the interior with flour and tap out the excess and tap out the excess. (I cheated. I used Pam.) (If you’ve got a silicone Bundt pan, there’s no need to butter or flour it.) Don’t place the Bundt pan on a baking sheet-you want the oven’s heat to circulate freely through the Bundt’s inner tube.
To Make The Swirl: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix
To Make The Cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter. With the paddle or whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream. Still working on low, add the dry ingredients and mix only until they disappear into the batter.
Give the batter a last stir or two with a rubber spatula (just to make sure all of the dry ingredients are properly incorporated) then scoop out about one third of the batter into the Bundt pan. Evenly sprinkle on half of the swirl mixture, then spoon in the rest of the batter. Make a shallow indentation with the back of the spoon in the center of the ring of the batter and fill it with the remaining swirl mixture, then cover the mixture lightly with the batter on the sides of the indentation. The batter probably won’t cover the mixture completely, and that’s fine.
Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake rest for 10 minutes before unmolding it onto the rack to cool to room temperature.
Just before serving, dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar, if desired.