I recently received a new Bundt pan as a gift and decided to inaugurate it by making one of the Bundt recipes from the May 2020 issue of Martha Stewart Living: a double-orange cardamom cake. The recipe is also included in Martha's Cake Perfection book, published last year. I should start by saying that the idea of making a Bundt cake has always frightened me: all those nooks and crannies where batter can get stuck and refuse to unmold! Do I risk spending an hour or so in the kitchen (not to mention shopping for ingredients) when there's a chance the cake might not even come out of the pan? I decided to bite the bullet and just try it.
Since baking sprays are not sold in Canada (think Baker's Joy and Pam's Happy Baking Cooking Spray), it was crucial that I thoroughly grease the pan with butter and dust it with flour before pouring the batter in. To me, it is the most crucial consideration when making a Bundt cake: treat the pan well, and it will treat you well in turn.The cake came out beautifully and just as described, although I omitted the Triple-Sec soaker and glaze since I was not in the mood for a boozy cake: a simple dusting of confectioners' sugar did the trick. The batter is luscious and fragrant, studded with orange zest and a healthy dose of ground cardamom. It's perfect for a small spring gathering. Below is the recipe along with some tips for successfully extricating a Bundt cake from its mold.
Double-Orange Cardamom Bundt Cake
For the Cake:
2 sticks (one cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole milk
½ cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from two oranges)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cardamom
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Glaze:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
½ cup orange liqueur (Triple Sec or Cointreau)
2/3 cup sugar
Step One: Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, stir together whole milk and orange juice. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
Step Two: With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to medium. Add the dry mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk/orange juice solution, beginning and ending with the dry mixture.
Step Three: Generously brush a 10-cup Bundt pan with butter, dust with flour and tap out excess. Pour batter into the pan two-thirds of the way to the top. Even out the batter with an offset spatula.
Step Four: Bake until cake is puffed slightly and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
Step Five: Make the glaze. In a small saucepan, cook butter over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove from heat; carefully add the liqueur (mixture will bubble). When bubbling subsides, add sugar and return to heat. Stir constantly until sugar is fully dissolved, about one minute. Remove from heat.
Step Six: Pierce holes in cake with a skewer at 1-inch intervals. Brush half the glaze evenly over the cake; let it stand until absorbed, about ten minutes. Invert cake onto a rimmed baking sheet. Gently pour the remaining glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides and center. Place cake back in the oven for ten minutes until glaze has set, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack before serving.
Cook’s note: Glazed cake can be kept in an airtight container or cake dome for up to three days. The glaze is not necessary for this recipe if you would rather do without the liqueur. It is just as good sans-glaze, served with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, some whipped cream, and fresh raspberries.
Bundt-Pan Troubleshooting Tips:
Here are a few tips for baking with Bundt pans:
· Grease it well! I cannot stress this enough. Bundt pans have a non-stick coating, but this is not enough. You must very generously grease the pan with either butter or vegetable shortening, ensuring you get it into every nook and cranny of the mold: you can use a pastry brush or your fingers for this. A very generous coating of flour (if making a white cake) or cocoa powder (if making a chocolate cake) should then be added to ensure the cake does not stick. Tap out any excess. Grease the pan just before you pour the batter in so that the butter does not warm and slide to the bottom. You can also use baking sprays (NOT cooking sprays) if they are available to you. Again, use a very generous amount.
· Let it cool! Because Bundt cakes are quite dense, it is important to let them cool for at least 20 minutes in their pans before attempting to invert them. It allows the cake to set and to slowly pull itself away from the sides of the pan. Inverting the cake too soon will cause the cake to fall apart. Conversely, don’t let it stay in the pan too long or the sugars will begin to get sticky and cling to the sides of the pan. Twenty minutes is the golden rule. Set your timer.
· Red alert! If the cake does appear to be stuck to the pan, there are a few things you can do to help unmold it, although they are not failsafe. 1. Thoroughly soak a dish cloth in ice water and wrap the cloth around the pan while it is still warm. This helps the cake contract quickly. 2. Place the entire pan in the freezer while it is still warm and wait for ten minutes while the cake contracts from the sides. 3. Never use metal implements to loosen the cake; this will scratch the non-stick coating. Use the end of a rubber scraper to gently loosen the sides. 4. Pray.