Thursday, August 23, 2007

@#%$! Bundt Cakes!

I hate Bundt cakes.

I admit that's a sweeping generalization. There is nothing wrong with Bundt cakes. They're just cakes - ordinary tasty butter cakes - baked in a fluted tube pan. I'm sure readers are scratching their heads wondering just what it is I have against Bundt cakes.

I don't hate eating Bundt cakes. I simply hate making them. Why can't I ever find a recipe and a Bundt pan that work together?

I lived at home for way too long. While living and baking at home, I availed myself of Mom's cookware and bakeware. Her pans were always a bit weird. She didn't have 9" or 8" round cake pans for example. She had 8.5" round pans. Her pie plates were also 9.5" instead of standard 9" or 10". Her Bundt pan was shallow and wide.

Even after moving out on my own I didn't have a full set of bakeware. Mom doesn't bake much anymore, so I often borrowed her baking pans. Even after I married I didn't have all of the pans I wanted. I had no springform or Bundt pan for a few years.

Last year I wanted to make a lemon pound cake for a dinner party and serve it with ice cream flavored with essence of rosewater and pistaschio chunks. I had heard great things about Maida Heatter's lemon cake and decided to make it as I had one of her cookbooks. I borrowed Mom's Bundt pan. Mom's extra-wide Bundt pan did not do justice to the amount of cake batter the recipe yielded even though the pans seemed to measure volume wise. I ended up with a lemon pancake. I scrapped the recipe and found a pound cake recipe that could be baked in a loaf pan instead.

For my birthday this summer I ended up receiving two large roasting pans as a gift from both my husband and my mother. Mom got hers at Macy's, so I got the receipt and went to returned it for some other new cookware. They had Bundt pans. They had Martha Stewart Bundt pans. I realized it was time to get a Bundt pan of my own. I vowed I would not get another too-large pan. I bought the smaller of the two sizes available.

This week's baking venture was Laura Brody's mocha pound cake with a Kahlua glaze. I was really looking forward to a tall, thick, hearty pound cake. I followed the recipe to the letter and prepared my new Bundt pan.

Lo and behold, the batter didn't fill half that pan despite being a correct measurement. Does a Bundt pan exist anywhere that actually fits a pound cake recipe? Is there a pound cake recipe out there that actually fits in a Bundt pan the way it's supposed to? I baked the thing anyway. My pound cake came out decently, but it was rather small. I guess it was meant to be that size because the baking time provided didn't overbake it. The outer crust was a little burned tasting, but the inside of the cake was moist and tender. They're eating it with abandon here in the office anyway.

I'm wondering if I'll ever be able to tell if a recipe will yield a two-inch high measly cake or a tall, glorious, calorie-laden wonder of a Bundt cake. Until I know, I'm staying away from the Bundt!

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