ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Bundt Seriously, Folks

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Once again, CSN Stores gave me a gift certificate for me to use in return for some reviews of whatever I purchase with it. For my latest batch of housewares, I ordered a Bundt pan because, well, why not? I wouldn’t say that I’m an avid Bundt maker, but it’s nice having the pan, and the thought of replicating those amazing Costco chocolate ring cakes in my very own kitchen was a bit too intoxicating to pass up. And so I happily added a nifty Bundt pan to my cart, and a few scant days later, it arrived on my doorstep (ironically the very same day that local bakery Kiss My Bundt went out of business. The circle of Bundt life continues).

Nevertheless, I had my new pan, but as I opened the box, I was in for quite the surprise…

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Here’s my new Bundt pan. Everything looks fine, right?

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Except guess what? IT’S TINY. Yes, I ordered a 6-Cup pan, not realizing that 12 cups was the standard. This immediately put a dent in my Bundt plans as most recipes are designed for either the larger or the smaller (Bundtlette, as they’re called) sizes. However, when it comes to the ol’ 6-cupper, there ain’t much out there for this overlooked middle child. That’s right, people. I have the Jan Brady of Bundt pans.

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Luckily my pan came with a recipe for a “Chocolate Crown Cake,” and even more luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand. I decided to get to work making a quick lil’ Bundt. Here’s a stick of butter, softened.

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Joining the butter is about a cup of sugar.

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After creaming the butter and sugar, two eggs go into the mix. Here’s the second aforementioned egg.

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Next goes flour and milk and vanilla extract and baking powder and salt. I drink skim milk; so I know that will lead to issues down the line baking-wise. However, I’m too lazy to go to the supermarket next door and get a more baking-friendly variety of milk.

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The batter, about a minute later.

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I think scoop about a quarter of the batter into a separate bowl. The chocolate crown process is upon us.

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To the quarantined batter I add chocolate syrup (how very Sandra Lee) and baking soda.

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I then butter and flour my pan, a process which I find terribly annoying.

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First in the pan is the chocolate batter.

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Next goes the regular white stuff.

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Only took about twenty minutes to do all this. Maybe less. Now it goes into the oven, preheated to 350 degrees. The directions order me to bake for thirty-five to forty minutes, but thanks to my skim milk, I wind up adding about ten or fifteen minutes to this bad boy.

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When the cake is finally ready, it looks like this. Curiously, the chocolate layer seems to have migrated.

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And now the moment of truth…

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Success!

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That’s good Bundt!

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After the Bundt has cooled completely, I cut myself a slice. I’m somewhat shocked that there is no real chocolate layer. By the miracles of science, the chocolate seems to have separated into nothing more than a shell. Visually, it’s cool. Expectation-wise, I’m sad.

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Well, the cake was nice, but nothing special. It wasn’t anything better than what you’d find in a conference room at a Holiday Inn (because I imagine their conference rooms are full of Bundt cakes). If anything , it was a little dry — not so much from overbaking but probably the lack of fat in the skim milk. I decided to jazz things up; so I made a chocolate glaze. Cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and water. Voila.

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The new and improved Bundt cake. The glaze definitely helped. But did it help enough?

Not really. I mean, it’s a fine little cake, but I think if I’m going to make it again, I’m going to full-on frost it with some cream-cheese frosting. It needs something to kick it up a notch, as Emeril would say.

Nevertheless, despite the Bundt pan being too small (my fault), it worked just fine. Cleanup was a breeze, and the cake slid right out of the thing. On a purely technical level, success!

18 replies on “ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Bundt Seriously, Folks”

  1. Just wondering if you have ever been on allrecipes.com? They have some really good recipes and most of them are rated. I have tried a chocolate cake, cheesecake , and a pancake recipe and all were delicious.

  2. I am very proud of your first Bundt offering! I have my mom’s old Bundt pan and I swear that no matter how I grease (or flour, grease + flour, spray grease, or spray grease + flour), a part of the cake still sticks to the pan. I hardly ever use it anymore because of this. I have fond memories of Jello cake that my mom made in her Bundt pan. I loved lemon, lime, orange and raspberry Bundt cakes–they were all very tasty. And best of all, they didn’t stick to the pan. I’m sure it’s just user error. Too bad she’s not around so I could ask her what the secret was.

  3. Just for future reference, you can buy Pam for baking with flour in it. That way you don’t have to butter and flour the pan. Just a quick spray! It’s a life saver!!

    1. There is also a version called ‘Bakers Joy’. It really, really works – even on the mini-muffin pans.

  4. Man, get yourself a can of spray Baker’s Joy and skip that messy “grease and flour” step. Total nightmare with Bundt pans. I actually do a lot of Bundt baking (buttermilk poundcake OHYEAH) and that stuff saves my bundt. 🙂

  5. i only use skim when baking, and maybe 2% but very rarely–because when i DID drink milk, i used what i had on hand. point is that it isnt dry because of the milk. plus thats a long time to add for an ingredient that generally has negligible effect on baking. at least in my experience.

    1. I agree. I don’t bake a lot of cakes but my mom almost solely uses fat free/skim milk. And her stuff’s moist.

  6. I, too, use skim milk when cooking since that’s what I have on hand but I don’t bake cakes (I make awesome cream pies though). I can’t imagine the skim made the difference in baking time. As you said, the difference between skim and other milk is the fat content and the effect on the flavor would be negligible. But for your future cake baking adventures here’s how to work around the lack of whole milk: l cup whole milk = l cup skim milk plus 2 teaspoons melted butter. Makes you glad you drink skim, doesn’t it?

  7. looks delish though! wondering…did the recipe call for softened butter or melted? Your butter looked a little melted. I believe that both Cook’s Illustrated and Ina describe softened butter as butter that will yield to a finger press and have an indention but the finger will not be able to press all the way through. The creaming process is not the same if the butter is too soft.
    Also, not so much a fan of the spray flour stuff, kinda cloggy and clotty on the pan. I use a pastry/paint brush to spread the softened butter into all those crevices, works wonders! The flouring is then super easy.
    All in all, I’m a baked goods whore so I wouldn’t turn this cake away from my doorstep

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