Sunday, October 4, 2009
What is it about baking cake that always brightens up the darkest day or mood? Surely it's not just the taste, although that certainly doesn't hurt. It's the the full sensory experience: reading a recipe. Gathering and mixing together the ingredients; seeing them come together. Putting the batter in a pan...and that amazing cake-baking aroma while it bakes. By the time the cake is done, eating it is almost secondary (note: almost), as you've already gotten so much satisfaction out of making the finished product.
In Seattle, I couldn't imagine a cozier bakery for a rainy day than Macrina Bakery, so I was thrilled when they sent out their coffee cake recipe in a recent newsletter. Any fruit of your choosing makes a nice complement to the dense butteriness of the cake, which is perfect for breakfast; I used bananas and topped the cake off with a generous dose of chocolate and nuts, which is guaranteed to make the darkest days brighter.
Rainy Day Bundt Cake
- adapted from Macrina Bakery's Fresh Fruit Coffeecake -
Makes 1 Bundt cake
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat--worked nicely with the banana)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups ripe fruit (I used bananas)
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- 3 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Oil a 12-cup Bundt pan.
- Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and toss with your hands to combine. Remove 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and set bowl aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine fruit and the reserved 1/4 cup of flour mixture. Toss until fruit is evenly coated and set aside. Tossing the fruit in flour helps keep it from sinking to the bottom of the coffeecake _ a true disaster!
- Combine butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment for 5 to 8 minutes on medium speed. The mixture will become smooth and pale in color. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure the first egg is fully mixed into the batter before adding the other. After the second egg is incorporated, add vanilla extract and mix for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another 30 seconds to make sure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
- Alternately add small amounts of flour mixture and buttermilk to the batter mixing with a wooden spoon just until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in the flour coated fruit making sure the fruit is evenly distributed through the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared Bundt pan filling two-thirds of the pan.
- Bake on the center rack of the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Check the center of the coffeecake with a skewer. It will come out clean when the cake is done. Let cool in a pan for 45 minutes.
- Loosen the sides of the cake with a sharp knife. Place a serving plate upside-down on top of the cooled Bundt pan and invert the pan to remove the cake.
- For chocolate topping: melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler. Pour gently directly on to the cake. Toss some walnuts, powdered sugar, or both, on top if it suits you.