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Behold the Bundt cake: Still going strong

Behold the Bundt cake: Still going strong

Three recipes plus a glaze
Behold the Bundt cake: Still going strong
Pear-spice Bundt Cake
Photographer: tribune news service

The made-in-Minnesota Bundt pan and the Star Tribune’s “Taste” food section have enjoyed a long, fruitful relationship.

The earliest Bundt recipe to appear in the section was published on Nov. 24, 1969. It used a fluted and scalloped aluminum tube pan produced by Nordic Ware in St. Louis Park, Minn.

In the intervening years, dozens and dozens of Bundt cake recipes followed and helped kick off a blazing demand for what was then the relatively obscure Bundt pan.

Nordic Ware founder H. David Dalquist started manufacturing the pans in 1950, based on a request from a member of the Minneapolis chapter of Hadassah, who wanted to replicate the deep, heavy cake pans of her native Germany. By the way, bund is German for association, and Dalquist added the “t.”

Today, Nordic Ware says that 70 million households worldwide are equipped with a Bundt pan.

Here’s how mainstream the Bundt pan became. Pillsbury produced its own line of Bundt cake mixes.

Here are a few of those Bundt cake recipes:

PEAR-SPICE BUNDT CAKE

Serves 12 to 16.

Note: Adapted from “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook” (Clarkson Potter, 2005). “This is a slight twist on applesauce cake, relying instead on a homemade pear sauce,” writes Stewart. “The cake can be made a day ahead. Keep it at room temperature.” Apples can be substituted for pears, and while Stewart specifies Bartlett pears, Anjou, Comice and Bosc are also suitable. Just before serving, garnish with either a dusting of powdered sugar or the Cream Cheese Glaze (see recipe).

For cake:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 pounds (about 5) ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups flour, plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
4 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk

Powdered sugar for dusting, optional, or Cream Cheese Glaze (see recipe), optional

In a medium saucepan, spread the granulated sugar in an even layer. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the sugar around the edge of the pan melts and begins to turn golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir until all the sugar has melted and mixture is translucent and golden (alternately, move the sugar around by swirling the pan).

Add pear chunks and stir to coat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until pears are very soft, about 6 to 8 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Using a potato masher, mash the pears until they are broken down but still slightly chunky. Continue cooking, covered, 5 minutes more, stirring frequently (the final consistency is thick and somewhat chunky; if liquid remains, keep cooking a few more minutes). Remove from heat, let cool completely, and reserve.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, baking soda, pepper and nutmeg, and reserve.

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar and honey and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the reserved pear sauce and mix to combine, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth with a small offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until cake is a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes (different pan shapes will yield different baking times). Remove pan from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Cool for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack set over a piece of wax or parchment paper. Cool completely.

Once cake is cool and ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar. Alternately, pour the Cream Cheese Glaze (see recipe) over the top of the cake, letting some drip down the sides.

Nutrition information per each of 16 servings without glaze: 370 calories, 13 g fat, 275 mg sodium, 61 g carbohydrates, 8 g saturated fat, 32 mg added sugars, 5 g protein, 80 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber

Exchanges per serving: 1/2 fruit, 1 starch, 2 1/2 carb, 21/2 fat.

CREAM CHEESE GLAZE

Makes enough for 1 (10-in.) Bundt cake.
Note: From “Martha’s Stewart’s Baking Handbook.”

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low, add the powdered sugar, and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, lemon juice and milk, and mix until smooth. If the glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Nutrition information per each of 16 servings: 40 calories, 2 g fat, 34 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g saturated fat, 4 g added sugars, 1 g protein, 7 mg cholesterol, 0 g dietary fiber

Exchanges per serving: 1/2 fat.

TUNNEL OF FUDGE CAKE

Serves 12.

Note: Perhaps the most famous Bundt pan cake recipe of all time was first published in the Feb. 14, 1988, issue of “Taste.” In her “Ask Mary” column, Mary Hart wrote that “Nuts are essential to the success of the recipe. Because the cake has a soft tunnel of fudge, ordinary doneness tests cannot be used. Accurate oven temperature and baking time are critical.” 

For cake:
1 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for pan
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups chopped walnuts

For glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk

To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Gradually add powdered sugar; blend well.

Stir in flour, cocoa powder and walnuts until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan and, using a spatula, spread evenly. Bake for 58 to 62 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack for 1 hour. Invert cake onto serving plate and cool completely.

To prepare glaze: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder and milk, and whisk until well blended. Spoon over top of cooled cake, allowing some to run down the sides.

GERMAN BUNDT CAKE

Serves 12.
Note: This was the first Bundt cake recipe to appear in Taste. Published in the Nov. 24, 1969, issue of the food section, it was part of a story on coffee cakes. Have all ingredients at room temperature for two to three hours before starting to bake.

1 cup butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Juice and freshly grated rind of 1 lemon
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Whole almonds in skins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-cup Bundt pan (do not flour).

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, sift together granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Reducing speed to medium, gradually add sugars to butter and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add unbeaten egg yolks, 1 at a time, and mix until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt 3 times. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour to batter in thirds, alternating with milk and starting and ending with flour. Using a spatula, fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Place a dab of butter — about 1/2 teaspoon — into the bottom of each crease in the pan, then embed a whole almond in each dab of butter. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes. Remove pan from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Cool for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

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