A point of clarification up front so that you don’t make the same mistake I did. When I saw the words “old fashioned donut bundt cake” strung together, I made the leap to a cake inspired by the categorical old fashioned donut. You know, the one that sort of looks like a star, has a sour cream base and is best with the clear glaze (don’t talk to me about chocolate)?
Alas, this is not that recipe. Instead this is a nod to the temporal old fashioned donut. As in, old timey. Both are delicious. But, sometimes it’s disappointing to think you are about to enjoy one thing when it’s really (per user error) another.
Nutmeg forward and dense, this cake would be a ringer as a Christmas morning treat. Sub-in egg nog for the buttermilk and you’ve got yourself Christmas dessert.
The original recipe calls for a cinnamon sugar topping, which is, of course, delightful. But, I opted for a tender, rich brown butter glaze.
Either way, you’ve got a winner. Especially if you aren’t confused about your donut varieties.
Old Fashioned Doughnut Bundt Cake
adapted from Erin Jeanne McDowell
for the cake
- 1 C (225g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/2 C (300g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temp
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 C (445g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 C (240 ml) buttermilk, room temp
for the icing
- 6 TBS (85g) unsalted butter
- XX (350g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 TBS hot water
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
for the cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease (butter or spray) a 10-12 cup bundt pan.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes)
- Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated, scraping down bowl after each addition. Beat-in vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine.
- Add half of the flour mixture to butter mixture and mix on low until just combined. Add half of the butter milk and mix to combine. Repeat. Scrape down bowl making sure batter is well mixed.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Rap pan on counter a couple of times to remove air pockets.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with only fine crumbs, 45-55 minutes.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a wire cooling rack and remove from pan. Allow to cool completely before icing.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan. Bring up heat and allow to medium and let simmer until it reaches a deep golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- In a medium bowl, sift confectioners sugar and salt. Whisk-in brown butter, vanilla and corn syrup. Add hot water up to six tablespoons one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency (more water for glaze, less for a thicker icing).
- Pour icing over cake and allow to cool completely before serving.
This year’s holiday baking featured seven treats–with five favorites and two new comers. When all was said and done, I made about 1750 units, mailed 29 boxes and hand delivered 9.
Labels buy the talented and fellow Bruin, Erin Condren.
Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies
Now I’m gonna go make some pie.
As I’m sure I’ve covered during my written navel gazing a time or two, I put a lot of thought into what gets included in each year’s holiday baking. My hope is that there is a little something for everyone. So, always sugar cookies (kids), something fruity, something nutty and something chocolate (that doesn’t also include nuts).
Last year’s chocolate crinkles while popular, were not the wisest choice from a baking perspective. With oil rather than butter as the fat source, I found myself having to roll and reroll hundreds of chocolate balls again and again (with butter, the dough stiffens up and holds its shape). And though world peace cookies are a favorite of mine personally, I’m afraid their simplicity gets lost in all of the other flashier offerings.
So, this year I was on the hunt for a new chocolatey cookie. After trying a few candidates (I know, it’s tough eating all that chocolate), I finally landed on Sarah Kieffer’s double chocolate espresso cookies. They are simple enough that kids like them, but fancy and complex enough thanks to the addition of cacao nibs, to be holiday-worthy.
Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies
- 1 1/2 C (213g) AP flour
- 1/2 C (50g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 tsps ground espresso
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 14 TBS (198g) unsalted butter, room temp.
- 3/4 C (150g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 C (150g) golden brown sugar
- 1 TBS vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
- 5 ounces (142g) semisweet chocolate chopped into bite-sized pieces (I like using mini chocolate chips)
- 2 TBS cacao nibs. I found mine on Amazon: cacao nibs.
- Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven, preheat to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso and baking soda.
- Set aside 4 TBS (57g) butter in a medium bowl.
- Melt remaining 10 TBS butter (142g) in a medium saucepan. Brown the butter until it is dark, golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma (2-3 minutes).
- Pour browned butter (and any bits) into the bowl with the set aside butter. Stir until all butter is melted and combined. Stir in the granulated and brown sugars, vanilla and salt.
- Whisk-in the egg and egg yolk until fully combined and the batter is smooth and glossy. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk again for another 45 seconds.
- Add-in the flour mixture and fold to combine. Fold-in the chocolate and nibs.
- Form the dough into 2 TBS balls (or scoop). Please 8 balls on each sheet.
- Bake cookies, one pan at a time until the centers are puffed, about 8-9 minutes.
- Transfer pan to wire rack and allow to cool completely. Sore in an air-time container.
As a note–I like to refrigerate the dough balls over night to develop the flavor and texture. If you do as well, just add on a minute extra to bake the cold dough.
Like the rest of 2020, the holidays this year have been and will continue to be different. I know, call me Captain Obvious. At this writing, the Misanthropic Hostess’s 2020 holiday baking is in the books. The scope was greatly reduced–I only made about 60% of what I usually make. I also spent a lot of time worrying about how to include as many people as I could while under a stay at home order. As a result, there were no baking analytics and very little in the way of social media engagement along the way.
Even so, I did find a couple of new great additions I wanted to share. This year’s almond butter crunch is one of them.
When people learn that baking is my jam (in addition to making bad puns), they often ask what my specialty is. The truth is that I don’t have one. I like to bake because for me, its about trying new things and improving my skills. I’m always on the lookout for the next best method or technique. So, I’m always on the search for the “better” recipe. It’s an important part of the fun for me.
I can’t tell you how many toffee/ butter crunch recipes I’ve tried over the years in search of the perfect texture and flavor. To me, it’s about a deep, almost burnt caramel flavor that starts out hard but quickly melts and crumbles at the bite.
Well, I think I’ve found my holy grail of butter crunch. At least for now. Ingredients are important. But, so is technique. As such, the recipe below is heavily annotated with my own bits and pieces on what I think make for a superlative butter crunch.
Almond (though use whatever nuts you want) Butter Crunch
adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 16 TBS (227g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1 /2 C (298g) sugar
- 3 TBS (43g) water
- 1 TBS (21g) light corn syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 C (227g) toasted nuts (chopped, sliced or slivered)
- 2 2/3 C (454g) semisweet chocolate chips
- In large, deep saucepan (3 quart), melt butter over low heat. Stir in water, corn syrup and salt to combine. Then stir-in sugar. Insert candy thermometer.
- Bring mixture to boil over medium to medium lowish heat. It will take longer at lower hear but this way but also reduces the chance that your candy will burn.
- Line 9X13 inch pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle half the nuts and half the chocolate evenly throughout the pan.
- Allow mixture to reach 290 degrees. Do no stir! If caramel begins to brown unevenly, gently swirl pan.
- Once the mixture get to 290 degrees, pull from heat and gently stir-in vanilla with a wooden spoon. Then stir in baking soda. Caramel will become momentarily angry and puff up. This is good.
- Pour caramel mixture into prepared pan, gently coaxing the last bits out with a heat-proof spatula.
- Sprinkle remaining chocolate across hot caramel. Let sit for 5 minutes and then spread evenly across top. Sprinkle on remaining nuts, then gently push the nuts into the chocolate.
- Allow toffee/caramel and chocolate to set/cool completely. Break into pieces and store in an air tight bag or container.
- The butter crunch will become more tender in the next 24 hours and should keep for at least a month.