I baked my first real bundt cake! It would take another baker to understand how absurdly happy you can be to get a new baking tin, pages from an old, tattered baking book, good yeast, good quality butter paper or that favorite brand of cocoa, a cake you got right after that miss, a new favorite recipe or that tiny bottle of almond extract. Am sure you would agree with me on this. I was as excited as a kid on two counts. Baking in my new bundt pan for the first time and a new recipe I tried with an ingredient I have never used before in a cake. Cream cheese! Yep, we do not get an ingredient labeled as such here, but to my delight , discovered that our desi paneer or cottage cheese works very well as a substitute.
I have baked quite some chocolate cakes and bakes recently, so was hunting for a good vanilla bundt cake recipe and finally found this recipe on Deb's Smitten Kitchen, a wonderful blog if you are into baking. Books can no doubt give lots of great recipes, but blogs allow you to read so much more into a recipe. I specially love blogs which tell you how to do things in detail...and Deb has done just that. Thanks so much Deb! The cake tasted like nothing I have eaten before, the texture totally new to me.. spooky soft, crumbly, powdery sort of, a bit dense... am not really able to describe this right. I sincerely hope I turned out the cake as its supposed to turn out!! But what I can tell you for sure is this is one cake I liked, a lot actually:-). For the very different texture and the amazing flavor . If you want to try baking something different and yumm, try baking this Cream Cheese Bundt Cake. You will be in for a surprise and a very delicious one at that...
Deb has given this recipe with strawberry coulis, which you could try too, but I opted to keep, oops eat (I could not keep it long enough, hahaha! ) mine plain. I have halved the recipe. You can find the original recipe here.
3/ 4 Cup / 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
116 grams of fresh cottage cheese, pureed paneer, 1/2 Cup (4 ounces) at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar - 2 tablespoons sugar (original recipe uses more, next time I would use even less)
3 large eggs (I used regular sized ones, too chicken to add another)
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract( yes, its pretty strong)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour / Maida
1/2 teaspoon salt (I omitted)
RIGHT !! - There is NO baking powder here.
1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C / 325°F . The temperature is low as the color of the pan is dark, conducts heat better. Bake at 177 degrees C or 350 degrees F if baking in a light colored pan. I have used my 6'' bundt pan. Buttered it very generously as I wanted the see the whole bundt cake in all its glory. (If there is any such thing as over-greasing, I DID IT!!). Floured it lightly.
2. Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. This took about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and airy, at least five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition ( till the yellow disappeared) and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the vanilla essence, almond essence, then the flour all at once. Beat just until incorporated - scary part for me, I did on low speed. The batter was quite thick. Probably larger eggs would have made a slight difference to the consistency of the batter. Tell me if you try out!
3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and level the top with a spatula . Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer (regular tooth-pick will be too short) inserted in the cake comes out clean, I baked for about 50 minutes.
4. Place the pan on a cake rack and cool for 20 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely. Do not use any sharp objects to ease the cake out as your non-stick bake-ware will get scratched. Serve at room temperature.
The top of the cake was cracked and rounded (it would have been great to have a flat top). More batter would have made the cake look better in shape. I will try this out with baking powder next time to see how much of a difference it would make to the rise and texture. I will also reduce another tablespoon sugar as I felt the cake would have tasted better less sweet.
I waited (very impatiently!) for the cake to cool down fully before inverting it on the plate. And was so happy to see my bundt cake...The house smelled so so wonderful!!! The soft cake sliced beautifully. I had absolutely no idea just 1/4 teaspoon almond extract can make a cake smell sooo.. good and add a new dimension to the taste... Sigh!!
Deb's cake left me, well... Smitten!!!
This cake goes to my blog anniversay event and I would be giving away The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Don't forget to send your bakes my way!
This cake also goes to Champa's Bake-Off .