24 November 2009

TWD: All In One Holiday Bundt Cake

well, aren't you cute?

This week's bit of oven-fresh Dorie Greenspan goodness comes courtesy of Britin at The Nitty Britty (I love that).  The title isn't as adjective-happy as Dorie's recipes sometimes are, and I appreciate that.  I'm an advocate of fewer modifiers in recipe titles.  As a matter of fact, I'd like to see us go back to naming recipes after people, or named for what they look like or remind us of.  Like, you know, "Lady Baltimore" cake, or "Hummingbird" cake, or my favorite, "Better Than Sex" cake. Yeah!  Let's bring inappropriate and/or random (but memorable!) back!

Anyway.  What this is is a bundt cake, not in the "tunnel of stuff" way, but a standard cake-all-the-way-but-not-as-dense-as-pound-cake bundt cake.  The "All-in-One-Holiday" descriptor attests to its "fruitcake-xtralite" style;  it's essentially a pumpkin cake, with a little apple, a few cut-up cranberries, a few chopped up pecans.  It's easy to put together: cream butter and sugar, add wet stuff, add dry, add chunks, bake--but for some reason it took me a long time.  Probably because I didn't really bother to do any mise en place but chopped fruit and so on as I went along. 

I decided to do a half recipe, which was easy enough;  I got enough batter to completely fill four good-sized mini bundt pans.  They didn't rise much, so no overflow. 


I think I baked them for about 35 minutes in the little pans.  I kind of just checked until they seemed just done.  I let them cool for the prescribed 10 minutes before turning them out.  Several people complained that their cake stuck.  I buttered the living daylights out of my pans and only had one of mine stick a little, and I think that was primarily because it had a clump of cranberries at the top.  The other 3 came out beautifully. 

the ugly duckling tries to push itself into the picture.  Isn't that always the way?

After they cooled, I made the suggested maple glaze:  a little powdered sugar, a little maple syrup.  It was a good addition, but I think next time I'd maybe add a drop of vanilla and/or half-and-half to cut the slightly metallic confectioners' sugar taste.

The taste was...pretty good.  Inoffensive. 

I have to insert this disclaimer:  I don't get the mania for pumpkin, like at ALL.  It just tastes like the physical embodiment of "meh."  Things with pumpkin always smell so promising--but when I eat them all I taste is wasted potential and failed aspirations.  Like they should be more flavorful, but the blandness of the pumpkin just overwhelms everything with mediocrity. 

And so it was with this cake for me.  It was like 92% really good, and 8% blah, totally because of the pumpkin. (I love pecans, so that bumped up the 92% some.)  The texture was nice and fluffy and spongy, very moist. 

So overall, the jury's out on whether I would repeat this one.  It's easy, and this time of year not too expensive.  It's a cake I bet other people (those who grew up eating pumpkin) would like, but I might not find myself wanting some in the middle of the night.  If someone else brought it to a potluck, I'd eat some, I'd compliment the baker if I happened to run across him, but I wouldn't make a special effort to find out who brought it, nor would I give it a second thought.  It's an inoffensive cake.  Polite.

Next week's post will likely be late.  The recipe is a lovely tart I've been wanting to try and suspect I will LOVE, but the recipe supposedly needs to be eaten same day, and I have TWO holiday potlucks on that Saturday to attend--so though I know it's against the rules, I'm gonna throw in my Single Head Of Household card and say it's really best for me to make something like that when I can pawn it off on other people.  I hope that's ok! 


Maura said...

I love this post. Esp. the part about the ugly duckling always trying to push itself into the picture and the part about pumpkin. But the whole thing was a great read. :)


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