Saturday, May 7, 2016

Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake

Fresh strawberries are in season so today I'm making another bundt cake. If you follow the blog regularly, you know I've made other bundts before and even discussed the history of the bundt cake. This one is made with fresh strawberries to really give it a nice full strawberry flavor and perfect in the spring and early summer here in Chicago.

Julian's Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake
While the bundt pan was developed for a specific cake recipe from Germany/Austria, I believe the pan became so popular for two reasons. First, because the hollow central tube permits a large dense cake batter to bake more evenly (without over baking the edges to get the center done) the cake is more moist throughout with a better crumb. Second, the pans themselves are decorative and it doesn't take much, if any, extra decoration or frosting to make it look beautiful. Just a sprinkle of powdered confectioner's sugar is enough to highlight the many lovely cake molds. Here I did a quick drizzle of cream cheese frosting and strawberry halves, which took me only a few minutes and I used my classic original bundt pan mold.

I made this cake for a meeting at the office, so I took it along in a plastic portable cake server shown above I found on Amazon. This works particularly well with my flat cake plate which fits exactly inside so it doesn't slide around when in transit. The sturdy latches and handle make it easy to move without fear of coming apart, and the material it is made of easy to clean and never cracks, unlike some of the clear hard plastic models. If you are in need of a new portable cake server, I highly recommend this one. You don't need to use a plate with it, but I prefer too.

My recipe for this cake is adapted from Chrysta Wilson's "kiss my bundt" bakery recipes, which are easy to make and taste particularly good. I haven't varied from her ingredient list, but I do take some liberties with her techniques which haven't changed the great outcomes. If you make lots of bundt cakes, get her book.

Ingredients
8 ounces fresh strawberries
A pretty pink cake inside.
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk or cream
Powdered sugar or cream cheese frosting*

Instructions
Clean and hull the strawberries and slice them in halves. Toss the strawberries in 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Add the lemon juice and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture boils, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes more, stirring periodically, until the mixture is more of a jam consistency. The mixture will reduce and thicken as it cooks. Remove from heat and place in a bowl in the refrigerator and allow to cool to at least room temperature before continuing.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease your bundt pan with butter and dust with flour. Make sure to get in all of the crevices and up the central tube. Turn the pan upside down over the sink or waste basket and pat the pan to release the extra flour. You can use Baker's Joy, the spray baking mixture, but do not try and use regular food release (Pam). Even with the baker's cooking spray, I've not always had good luck with it releasing the cake. I prefer to grease and flour the old fashioned way for ensured success.

Sift the flour, baking powder, strawberry gelatin and salt together. Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy; about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and beat on medium for an additional 2 minutes. Crack the eggs in to a separate bowl and add to the running mixer one at a time until well combined, about 2-3 minutes more. Turn the mixer to low, and add the cooled strawberry mixture until combined. Measure the milk and add the vanilla to the milk. 

With the mixer on low, slowly add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and then half of the milk. Add another third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and then the remainder of the milk. Finally, add the last third of the flour mixture to the batter and mix until will blended. 

Transfer the thick batter into the prepared bundt pan ensuring it is evenly distributed. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, until a pic comes out clean when tested. If making individual bundts instead of the large singe bundt, baking time will be shorter. When done, remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Place your cake plate over the the cake and invert until the cake releases onto the plate. Let cool. Recenter the cake if necessary. 

*Decorate if you prefer, either with powdered sugar or any drizzle you prefer. In these photos, I used a cream cheese frosting that I had on hand. However, you can also purchase a tube of cream cheese frosting for this purpose. 

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