Chris is the newest member of our team, having started with us at the beginning of February. His timing was immaculate, because it is his birthday today, and in time-honoured fashion, I made him a birthday cake. I chose to make him Dorie Greenspan's Brown Sugar Bundt Cake from Baking - From My Home to Yours.
This cake is very good - it is not overly sweet, it contains two types of fruit (so hey, it must be healthy!) and has a moist yet light texture. And the smell in the kitchen while it is baking and cooling is just delightful. I used prunes and apples in my version (Dorie suggests prunes and pears but offers up various alternatives, including substituting the pears for apples). As this was a birthday cake so needed to look somewhat festive, I chose to decorate my cake with Dorie's maple syrup glaze, as used on her "All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake". The glaze obliterated the pretty arches of my cathedral bundt pan, but it tasted great. It is also quite a large cake, so it is a good one to make for a group.
2 1/4 cups sifted plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
230g softened butter, cubed
2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla esssence
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup prunes
6 tablespoons icing sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
flaked almonds (optional)
Peel, core and dice the apples into pieces about 1cm cubed and set aside. (Squeeze over some lemon juice if worried about browning, but I didn't bother.) Using kitchen shears, cut the prunes into quarters and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
Combine the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Turn down the mixer speed to a low setting, then add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients. Once just combined, remove the batter from the mixer, and stir through the apples and prunes.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, and bake for approximately 1 hour or until cooked through. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once the cake is cool, make the glaze by blending the icing sugar and maple syrup together until it reaches a dripping consistency, then drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle with flaked almonds, if desired, to decorate.