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from a Deutsche Kuche mix garnished with espresso flavored chips

I’m going to say this right up front, we have a lot of food holidays in America that seem rather like 10,000 monkeys slapped a bunch of words together and stuck them on the calendar. There seems to be little reason for, or explanation of, why these things must be celebrated. However, a little digging revealed the background on this Holiday. Like most fake holidays, it is designed to sell product. In this case, the 60 year holiday is helping to keep Nordic Ware’s Bundt™ in production. And I do not mind helping Nordic Ware out!

Bundt™ cakes are made in Gugelhopf pans, the history of which can be found here.  A Gugelhopf (kugelhopf in someplaces) is a specific type of brioche style recipe with a yeast leavening, which is all about the recipe. A bundt cake is all about the design as there is no specific recipe. The batter for the bundt™ cake is based on a standard egg and baking soda cake recipe though these decorative fluted pans often find themselves standing in as jell-o & parfait molds.

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mini bundt pan~6

I puchased this pan at ALDI a few months back and have been waiting impatiently for the holidays to try out a good sturdy cake recipe. The elected cake mix is for a Marzipan cake that ALDI has sold the last two Christmas seasons. The cake is more like a pound cake in texture and rises like one. When I have tried a standard cake in the bundt™ the designs are not as pronounced and they don’t always turn out easily.

The only real caution to pass along is that the box doesn’t really make a full 6 cakes. Not the fault of product makers, the Marzipan cake is meant to be made in a loaf pan. However, because the Marzipan cake behaves like a pound cake there are some things to keep in mind when filling the cups.

First, as with any cake, grease and flour well! I can not stress that enough. And if you think that you tapped enough flour out of the pan, tap it again.

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a well floured well

If you think “That should do it!”, I want you to turn the pan over then drop it onto the counter top from about a foot above. NOW you have the flour out, leaving a truly lightly floured pan.  This is so critically important. Any where that there is a gob of flour in the well of the pan there will be voids in the finished cake. If you are lucky the flour chunk will fall out and only leave a blank in the design. If you are unlucky, as I have been in the past, you will have a horrible tasting bit of unattractive flour stuck to the surface of the cake that will resist chocolate drizzle or be a nasty surprise if you have decorated with powdered sugar. As a rule, if you hide flour bits under powder sugar the person whom you are trying hardest to impress will get that piece. This is not good!

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dollop of batter

Secondly, when you fill the bundt™ pan you must use caution when filling the wells. I use an ice-cream scoop to fill muffin and mini cake pans per Alton Brown’s advice. The wells will take 2 standard ice-cream scoops, as in the photo. If you have an off set spatula small enough to fit the well use it to smooth out and make the batter as flat as possible in the cup. Once all the wells are full, you can gently drop the pan from about 2 inches above the counter top to help even it out more. Do not drop it hard or you will lose valuable air bubbles in the batter that will help it to rise. I did not do this step.

As a result, the finished bundt™ came out of the oven in roughly the shape you see it here. The peak could have been knocked down to fill the well better and capture more of the design. It also did not sit well on the cooling rack which make them sit lopsided on the serving plate and complicated the decorating process. The peaks had to be trimmed to sit flatly on the plate which then caused dryness.

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waiting for a chocolateer

The chocolate drizzle comes in a bag with the mix. I don’t have chocolateering skills to get a homemade shiny glaze so this was a huge help! To get a good professional coverage and keep the mess to a minimum, place a sheet pan under the cooling rack to catch anything that drops in the process.

Cut a small opening in a corner so that you can control the glaze better. The smaller the stream the better the control and the further the glaze with stretch. When you are covering mini cakes, as opposed to a loaf, you have more area to cover so making the glaze last is key to keeping all 6 evenly coated.

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