National Bundt Cake Day

The nation celebrated National Bundt Cake Day this week! And those who know me know I love a good bundt.

For those of you out of the bundt loop, the bundt has Minnesota written all over it. Why? The pan! The traditional, quintessential ring-shaped bundt pan was trademarked in 1950 by H. David Dalquist, founder of Nordic Ware, right here in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

As far as recipes for bundt cakes go, there are no limits, but Susanna Short has done her bundt homework and developed a bundt cake recipe book, Bundt Cake Bliss, for the Minnesota Historical Society Press. From Green Chili Cornbread to the traditional Quick Orange Kiss Cake, the cook has a bit of something for every bundt lover. Check out a video of Short preparing a bundt cake on Twin Cities Public Television.

Vintage bundt pans are widely available, especially from aunts, grandmothers, and rummage sales. If you’d rather buy a version of their 2006 update to the Nordic Ware bundt pan, you can check out the Nordic Ware factory store at 4925 Highway 7, Minneapolis, MN 55416.

The photo? My sculptural version of fruit cake using Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake recipe, where I was able to use dried local fruits rather than the mysterious corn syrup-soaked candied fruit you’ll find in traditional fruit cakes.

Have a great bundt recipe or tip? I’d love to hear it.

• 1 cup raisins
• 1 cup currants
• 1/2 cup sun dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup sun dried blueberries
• 1/2 cup sun dried cherries
• 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
• Zest of one lemon
• Zest of one orange
• 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
• 1 cup gold rum
• 1 cup sugar
• 5 ounces unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
• 1 cup unfiltered apple juice
• 4 whole cloves, ground
• 6 allspice berries, ground
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pecans, broken
• Brandy for basting and/or spritzing

Combine dried fruits, candied ginger, and both zests. Add rum and macerate overnight (or microwave for 5 minutes to re-hydrate fruit). 

Place fruit and liquid in a non-reactive pot with the sugar, butter, apple juice, and spices. Bring mixture to a boil stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes. (Batter can be completed up to this point, then covered and refrigerated for up to two days. Bring to room temperature before completing cake.)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large wooden spoon, then stir in eggs one at a time until completely integrated, then fold in nuts. Coat your pan with butter and sprinkle with flour (or use nonstick spray). Spoon into a 9 x 3 inch bundt pan and bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.

Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet. Baste or spritz top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.

When cake is completely cooled, seal in a tight sealing, food-safe container. Every two to three days, feel the cake and if dry, spritz with brandy. The cake’s flavor will enhance considerably with time. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and insert snowman figure into bundt center before serving.