Drunken Bundt

I put too much rum in the glaze. Thus, the drunken Bundt was born. It was also born out of necessity: I needed a portable, simple and autumn-flavored dessert for Thanksgiving.

I know, I know. It’s not a pie, the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert. But hear me out before you discard this Bundt as holiday blasphemy.

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Drunken Bundt, from its best side | Cred: Melanie Cohen

After taking a Bundt cake to two birthday celebrations, I realized how much easier it is to transport. My extra large studio lacks space to store a cake carrier. Successfully transporting (usually via metro) a four layer frosted cake with my homemade carrier, aka whatever leftover shipping box I have jimmied into a cake vessel, is a perilous feat that sometimes results in desserts arriving at the destination lopsided and “unpretty.”

With a Bundt there are no layers to cut and you can ice it once it reaches the final destination. A quick covering of plastic wrap is all the cake needs to become instantly transportable. The two minute glaze can be made the day of and transported in a Mason jar or other small container.

Flavor-wise, this cake roars autumn. The cake starts with a sweet potato (or pumpkin) base and then you add your typical fall spices—ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves—making it well-deserving of a spot on your holiday table.

I jazzed (ahem boozed) up the original Washington Post recipe by nixing the dusting of powdered sugar and replacing it with a rum glaze that is then topped crystallized ginger, chopped pecans and unsweetened coconut. First time I made the glaze, I used two tablespoons of rum and WHOA. You’d have thought Jack Sparrow took over my kitchen. If that’s your thing, go for it. If not, use only 1 ½ tablespoons of rum.

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Drunken Bundt | Cred: Melanie Cohen

Did I convince you to forgo the pie this Thanksgiving? Hope so! If not, please do make this cake for another occasion. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Let me know in the comments.

Drunken Bundt

Adapted from Washington Post

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake; 12-16 servings

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon ground cloves
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 15 ounces canned sweet potato puree (or canned pure pumpkin puree)

Glaze

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ to 2 tbsp, for distinctively drunken cake, rum
  • milk, as needed (water will do in a pinch)
  • handful of chopped pecans, toasted if you have time
  • handful of chopped crystallized candid ginger slices (Tip: the candied ginger slices from Trader Joe’s are much easier to slice than the candid ginger cubes.)
  • handful of unsweetened coconut, toasted if you have time (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with butter and flour or with a butter and flour cooking spray
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
  3. Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until quite creamy. Make sure to occasionally stop and scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the dark brown sugar, then beat for 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition, to blend. Blend in the molasses and vanilla extract on low speed.
  5. Add the sweet potato puree and beat on low speed to thoroughly incorporate it. The mixture might look slightly curdled—it’s fine and there’s no need to worry as it will even out later.
  6. On low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions, stopping to scrape down the bowl after each one and mixing until just combined.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the cake comes out clean. The baked cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan.
  8. Transfer (in the pan) to a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a separate cooling rack and remove the pan. Let cool completely.
  9. Make the glaze. Put the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add the rum and one tablespoon of milk. Mix until combined. If the mixture appears too thick to drizzle, add milk one teaspoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. Drizzle glaze over cake and then sprinkle with pecans, candied ginger and coconut (if using).
    (If you transport the cake. Mix the powdered sugar, rum and milk in a Mason jar, and combine the pecans, candied ginger and coconut in a separate jar or plastic bag. Ice the cake once you arrive.)
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to two days.

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Let Me Teach You How to Dutch Baby

Growing up my family went to brunch every Sunday. For a few years, we went to Bickford’s and my mom’s standard order was the baby apple pancake, a fluffy baked pancake topped with layers of thinly sliced apples and coated with cinnamon sugar. I usually ordered the Dutch pancake, which is served with a dusting of powdered sugar and lemon.

Photo Cred: Melanie Cohen

Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

Then a brunch tragedy occurred. BICKFORD’S CLOSED. Those first few brunches afterwards were sad Sundays. But we persevered and found other restaurants and foods to satiate us. We’d always have the memories.

One day (insert a ray of sunshine), I found a recipe for the supposed Bickford’s pancake. I may have squealed. It seemed too easy, too good to be true. I was dubious that such a fluffy pancake only required five ingredients and basic baking equipment.

You guys, it really is that easy.

I tested it out a few more times and made different variations. I started to sound like the Bubba Gump of Dutch pancakes. A Dutch pancake with apples and cinnamon. A Dutch pancake with lemon and powdered sugar. A Dutch pancake with bananas and rum. A Dutch pancake with blueberries and almonds…I think you get the point.

There are myriad ways you could make this. It’s also ideal for when you have friends for brunch because the Dutch pancake requires minimal effort and it has a serious wow factor when you pull that fluffy masterpiece from your oven.

Now, let me to teach you how to Dutch baby…

Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

Photo Credit: Melanie Cohen

Dutch Baby Pancake (three ways)

(This recipe, and any of the variations, may be cut in half and baked in a 6-inch oven-safe skillet.)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (Any kind works–whole, low fat, etc. I’ve also used coconut milk to make the bananas and rum variation.)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar, lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk in a bowl until just combined.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stir until just blended.
  5. In a heavy 12-inch oven-safe skillet (preferably cast-iron), melt butter until hot and frothy. Pour batter into skillet and transfer quickly to oven.
  6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and puffed. Do not open oven during baking. Serve immediately, topped with confectioners’ sugar and lemon wedges.

Apple Variation:
(Adapted from Yankee Magazine)

Thinly slice one tart apple (e.g., granny smith, pink lady) and put in a small microwave-safe bowl; soften the slices slightly in the microwave. Set aside. Combine 1 tablespoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg with ¼ cup sugar. After adding batter to pan (step four) add apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake as directed and serve with warm maple syrup and/or butter.

Bananas & Rum Variation:
(Make the banana rum mixture while the pancake is in the oven.)

Slice two ripe bananas on an angle, set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons rum, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons orange juice in a large skillet until the butter is melted. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat so the sauce is bubbling gently. Add bananas. Cook until they are softened, about 4 minutes. Keep warm until the pancake is done.

Immediately after removing the pancake from the oven, top with the banana rum mixture. Slice and serve.

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