Once more, I have to ask you to allow me to start at the beginning before getting to the heart of the matter, before getting down to business, the reason we are all here, that is, the recipe: this simply striking Bakewell Bundt Cake. You’ll see why…
As you can probably imagine, the first thing that immediately caught my attention was its name: Bakewell. Can you believe it? Well, as it just turns out, Bakewell is an ancient little market town, with less than 4,000 inhabitants, located in the famous Peak District National Park, Derbyshire; one of the most beautiful spots in the English countryside. Besides, and as if all that weren’t enough, this very same town happens to be very close to the legendary Chatsworth House. Does it ring a bell? 😉 Besides, in 1811 Jane Austen is said to have stayed at the White Horse Inn (now known as Rutland Arms Hotel) while writing her novel Pride & Prejudice. In fact, the hotel has even named a suite after her to commemorate the visit.
But What kind of a beautiful name is that? It couldn’t be more perfect, don’t you think? Even so, it doesn’t relate to what it initially suggests. The town’s name comes from the term ‘Badecanwylla’, mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (9th Century), which can be translated as Badeca’s Well after the town’s springs and an Anglo-Saxon chieftain of the time.
Among its many other virtues, Bakewell is best known for the confection made by mistake of the famous Bakewell Pudding in the 19th Century. A cook at the aforementioned White Horse Inn was to bake a jam tart but misunderstood the recipe, which led to the creation of the Bakewell Pudding. One century later, the Bakewell tart was born, which nowadays is a common afternoon tea treat.
The pudding consists of a luscious eggy mixture enriched with ground almonds in a pastry case (usually puff pastry) and a thin layer of jam at the bottom. The tart version uses a shortcrust pastry base filled with a spongy mixture, which is flavoured with a sweet almond pastry cream (or frangipane) and also a layer of jam (traditionally raspberry) at the bottom. So here I am, irreverently turning this all-times dainty morsel into an irresistible bundt cake version, which I simply love. And I must admit that, in the light of the highly enthusiastic responses around here, the outcome couldn’t have been more remarkable; it is actually one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever tasted: tender, spongy, perfectly moist, with an unmatched flavor and a unique texture. Aren’t you feeling an irresistible urge to have some right now? I thought as much… Seriously, I wish I could send each of you a piece of this wonder so that you could experience it yourselves.
In such a context, and after being irrevocably captivated by this most talented recipe, I have decided to use it in the CONCURSO DE RECETAS DULCES PARA BLOGS DE COCINA (Sweet Recipe Contest for Food Blogs) sponsored by the Top Chef Magazine, Nordic Ware® España and Claudia & Julia.
And without further ado I shall leave you here with the said recipe. I hope that you may come to enjoy it as much as I have (and please, wish me luck 🙂 )
- 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups (300 g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond essence
- 2¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (305 g) self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (50 g) ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
- ½ cup (140 g) raspberry preserves
- Icing or confectioner's sugar
- Toasted flaked almonds
- Preheat oven (electric) to 350 degrees (180ºC) and place oven rack in the center position.
- Using a pastry brush, butter a 10-inch or 10-12 cup (25 cm Ø) bundt pan thoroughly. Sprinkle some flour in the pan, hold it over a sink, and turn and tilt the pan to distribute the flour evenly. Then invert the pan and tap out the excess flour to prevent a buildup of grease and flour on the finished cake. When greasing and flouring, be sure to coat all the crevices in the pan so the cake will release easily and the design will be sharply defined. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together 2¼ cups (290 g) of the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add lemon zest and ground almonds to the flour mixture and whisk until perfectly combined. Set aside.
- Using a electric hand/stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a separate large mixing bowl), beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy for 4-5 minutes at medium-high speed.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula, reduce to medium-low speed and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
- Then beat in vanilla and almond extracts until totally combined.
- Add flour mixture (point 3) in three additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk, that is, start with ? dry ingredients, next ½ buttermilk, ? dry ing. again, last ½ buttermilk and final ? dry ing., mixing after each addition just until dry ingredients are moistened. Batter should be still a bit lumpy, that's fine; these lumps will disappear during baking. As a result, we will get a rich and dense consistency.
- To prevent the formation of air bubbles, gently spoon the batter into the pan. If you pour the batter in quickly, air pockets are likely to form, which can produce holes in the finished cake. To release any air bubbles that may have developed, tap the pan gently on a work surface. Using a rubber or an offset spatula, spread the batter so the sides are slightly higher than the center. The cake will bake more evenly and be less likely to form peaks.
- Finally, dust the remaining flour (2 tablespoons) evenly all over the batter top surface and then carefully pop the raspberry preserves on the flour, making sure that it doesn't reach the sides or the central tube.
- Bake for about 55 minutes until golden-brown and the top springs back when lightly touched or a skewer or cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 10 minutes. Then tap the pan firmly a few times and shake it gently to help loosen the cake. Invert the pan onto the rack, lift it off and let the cake continue to cool completely on the rack before garnishing.
- Before slicing and serving, working with a light hand, dust the cake with some icing or confectioners' sugar (try not to cover all the details of the cake's design with a heavy coating). Do this just before serving as the sugar tends to melt into the cake as it sits. Finally, sprinkle with some toasted flaked almonds.
It keeps covered for 3-4 days at room temperature.
- Although the original recipe usually calls for raspberry preserves, this bundt cake version (or the original tart recipe) is just as superb if you use any other preserves, especially some with a tart tang for it combines beautifully with the almonds.
- Whenever we bake a cake with some jam in it, the latter usually sinks to the bottom of the pan during baking. It's just a question of densities, no matter what (except that in this case, as we invert the cake, the bottom becomes the top). A flour layer before adding the jam will help to prevent the jam from getting even out of the batter, but again, it all depends on temperature and the fat / sugar / water ratio which may be present in the batter. It's not actually a big deal, but even though, if you try and make this recipe and come up with any other solution to keep your jam at bay, I'm all ears...