Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Double Glazed Caramel Mocha Bundt for #Bundtamonth


Let me start by employing a Texas phrase:  It wasn’t my first rodeo.  My father had lived in Indonesia and Brunei so I was familiar with the five pillars of Islam.  While staying with him, I often woke up to the call to prayer, sat patiently several times a day as sitcoms were interrupted by the televised version of the call to the faithful and dodged mosque traffic and haphazard parking on Friday afternoons.  The Muslims I met were gentle people, slow to anger, quick to commiserate and ever kind. 

But when we arrived in Abu Dhabi in 1987, I hadn’t actually lived through the holy month of fasting, the concentrated, collective weeks of introspection and prayer that are Ramadan.  And I must confess that I didn’t get it even then.  As expats, we went about our daily lives, working only in the morning from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. as businesses were closed in the afternoon.  The only Muslim in my little office was the big boss who actually lived in Oman and just came to visit occasionally.  I’d rush home to prepare the cooler with drinks and barbecue essentials and we would sail off in our small Prindle catamaran to a secluded, deserted island to feast where we would not offend anyone, or be seen flouting the law.  It was against the law to eat, drink or smoke in public, or even to appear to be eating.  I was careful not to chew gum, even in my car, lest the religious police pull me over.  While I always dressed modestly, during Ramadan I was even more careful to make sure knees and shoulders were covered.  After all, as a temporary resident of the UAE, my husband’s work permit and my work permit depended on conforming.  And it was a matter of respect. 

By our second year in Abu Dhabi, I had changed jobs and was in charge of public relations at the InterContinental Hotel.  Of course, tourists don’t stop arriving just because it’s Ramadan.  In fact, special Ramadan rates increased occupancy.  The fasting month is fixed as the ninth month in a lunar calendar so it moves back about 10 days every year in our calendar.  That year it was in April, right around the Easter holidays.  And since it’s still quite cold in the United Kingdom and most of Europe in April, they came in droves and checked into our hotel looking for fun in the sun, food and drink.  Yes, I’m talking alcohol and lavish buffets.  So how do you give people a normal holiday when all the restaurants and bars have to be closed from sunrise to sunset?  You get creative. 

Restaurants were partitioned so that inside sections could be curtained off from the public eye.  A suite on an upper floor was turned into coffee and tea room, including soft drinks and water, free to hotel guests.  And, of course, room service was busier than ever.  

But the biggest change for me was quietly observing the behavior of my Muslim co-workers.  Many, especially the gardeners and maintenance guys, worked their same long hours, despite not drinking or eating (and probably suffering for lack of nicotine!) all day.  I was impressed by their ability, for the most part, to remain cheerful and dedicated to the welfare of our guests.  Hey, I get crabby when I’m hungry and thirsty.  Crabbiness didn’t seem to be an issue here.  I am not saying that fasting was easy for them.  I am just saying that perhaps the burden is eased when you are doing it for a reason you believe in.  I cannot presume to guess. 

Over the past 25 years, I have been invited many times to take part in the sunset meal, called iftar in Arabic speaking countries and buka puasa in Malaysia, to break the daily fast during Ramadan.   It is always an honor. 

Today I’ve got a Bundt cake for you, a pretty dessert for the end of any special meal.  You might have guessed from the title that the BundtaMonth theme from our lovely hosts, Anuradha from Baker Street and Lora from Cake Duchess is caramel.  You would be right.  Be sure to scroll down and see all the other lovely Bundts we’ve baked for you this month. 

And I’d like to say a special thank you to my fellow UAE blogger, +Sally Prosser of My Custard Pie, whose recent Ramadan post started my reminiscing.

Update:  I have received a lot of comments about Ramadan and living in a Muslim country and I am grateful for every one of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts and questions.  I invite you to read a blog post by a fellow blogger who lives in the Boston area but grew up overseas.  As a child of Christian missionaries, raised in predominately Muslim Pakistan, she tries to bridge the gap of understanding.  Please read her post here. 

Ingredients
For the cake:
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup or 170g sugar
1/2 cup or 100g dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups or 220g flour, plus more for the pan
1/4 cup or 25g special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the caramel glaze:
1/4 cup or about 60g unsalted butter
1/2 cup or 100g light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup or 80ml heavy cream
1 cup or 125g confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the coffee glaze:
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup or about 60g powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons cream

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Prepare your Bundt pan by rubbing the inside with butter or using a nonstick spray and then coating with a couple of tablespoons flour.  

Combine the flour, cocoa, instant coffee, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  In a measuring cup, add the vanilla to your measured milk.  Set both aside. 
  
Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl.


Beat in the eggs, one at time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.

This one's egg number 3. 


Once the eggs are fully incorporated, add half of the dry ingredients mixture and beat to mix.


Add half of the milk and beat again until mixed.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.


Repeat the last two steps, using the last half of the dry ingredients and the milk.   Your batter is done! Spoon it into the prepared pan.


Bake for 45-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


Remove your Bundt cake from the oven and allow to cool until the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan a little.  Invert the cake on a wire rack and cool completely before starting to make the glazes.


Once your cake is cool, make the caramel glaze.  First measure and sift your 1 cup or 125g powdered sugar into a heatproof bowl.  

Cut the butter into a couple of pieces and place in a saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt.  After everything melts together, bring to a full, rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.   Boil for a quick minute then remove from the heat.



Pour this into your heatproof bowl with the powdered sugar and stir quickly with a wooden spoon.


Pour the glaze over your cooled cake.   Mine was a little too thick (I suspect I boiled it too long and have adjusted the boiling time here accordingly) so I ended up spreading it around further with a warm knife after pouring.  Do what you need to and make it look pretty.  Allow to set as you make the coffee glaze.

I smoothed it out even more after this. 





Put the powdered sugar for your coffee glaze and the instant coffee granules into a small mixing bowl.  Add two tablespoons of cream and stir vigorously.  I actually used a small, sturdy whisk.


Once thoroughly mixed, lift the whisk out of the glaze to see if it will drizzle successfully.  If it is too stiff, add more cream a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches drizzling consistency.  Depending on your instant coffee brand, the granules may take a while to completely dissolve.  Just keep stirring occasionally until they have.


Drizzle the coffee glaze on your cake with a small spoon or use an icing decorator bag and tip (or even a Ziploc bag with a small piece of the corner cut off.)  Allow the glaze to set.



Enjoy!




Check out all the other lovely caramel Bundts:


Here’s how you can be a part of Bundt-a-Month:
  • Simple rule: Bake us a bundt using caramel
  • Post it before July 31, 2013
  • Use the #BundtaMonth hashtag in your title. (For ex: title could read – #BundtaMonth: Caramel Swirl Bundt)
  • Add your entry to the Linky tool below
  • Link back to our announcement posts
Even more bundt fun! Follow Bundt-a-Month on Facebook where we feature all our gorgeous bundt cakes. Or head over to our Pinterest board for inspiration and choose from hundreds of Bundt cake recipes.


38 comments :

  1. Mmmm.. coffee and caramel is one of my favorite combinations, stacy! love the glaze, the drizzle on top. Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for baking along :)

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  2. Where do I start Stacy?

    Ok. A. Your cake photos need to be submitted to Foodgawker. The Bundt is beyond!

    B. I found your musings about Ramadan and getting creative at the Intercontinental sooo interesting.I hadn't realized about the gum chewing (similar to Singapore.) But the other things like the shoulder and knee covering are now familiar to me. (My sister and niece are moving to Qatar in August!)



    C. Thank you for the wonderful recipes =)

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  3. Thank you, Kim! You are always so generous with your compliments. The chewing gum prohibition is just for the daytime during Ramadan because it makes it appear that you are eating. In Singapore, gum is banned altogether, unless it's nicotine gum and you have a doctor's prescription.

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  4. Mine too, Anuradha! You can't beat coffee and caramel, in cake or glaze. Thank you!

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  5. I highly, highly approve of this double glazing business! Wow... I have to say, Stacy, that I'm fascinated by non-Muslim westerners that are able to live in Muslim countries. Of course you must be respectful to your host country but I honestly don't think I could follow those rules. I give you credit.

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  6. This cake looks amazingly dense which is one of my favorite traits of a bundt. The coffee and caramel put it over the top! Gorgeous photos!

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  7. This is absolutely gorgeous, Stacy and the flavour combination is just fabulous! Like a caramel mochaccino in glorious cake form. Thank you for telling us about your experiences in Abu Dhabi. As someone who has never been there and has little to no contact with those of the Muslim faith, it's truly eye-opening. Keep the stories coming!

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  8. I loved reading about Rhamadan and traditions. That cake is gorgeous and would be a wonderful way to celebrate. Gorgeous!

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  9. Thank you for introducing me to Ramadan in the way you have. Remember where I live.... until recently a Muslim lady worked in our office and she very nicely declined any of the meat we served during our holiday meals and she also fasted during Ramadan. Now I didn't know why she did it on either count but respected her religious beliefs - you know, one of the cornerstones our our country - anyway, from the day she came until the day she moved on people in our office complained about her fasting and how she "was too good" to eat the meat we served. Oddly, we also had a Jewish woman in our office at the same time who would not eat pork and a vegetarian who would not eat meat of any kind. For some reason, that was okay! :) You know how I love bundt cakes and I've already pinned it to my bundt-o-rama pin board! :)

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  10. Stacy,
    Thank you for sharing about your life in Abu Dhabi. . I loved reading about it. . wow, have you been there for 25 years now?! and I LOVE your Double Glazed Caramel Mocha Bundt. . this is what a bundt cake should look like! and as always, love the step by step photos. I know that takes more time and it is so very much appreciated! totally going to try your caramel glaze!

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  11. Oh caramel and mocha-- wonderful!! Your cake is beautiful and I enjoyed reading your post, thanks for sharing so much about your experience in another culture. I would love to have a piece of this cake!!

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  12. Beautiful cake, Stacy! I love the double icing....so pretty. My boss is fasting for Ramadan and I give her credit. She gets up at 3:30 in the morning to take breakfast. I'd still be gnawing my knuckles by lunch! But you are right...this cake would be such a lovely treat at the end of the fast! Great post! : )

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  13. I didn't know chewing gum was forbidden during Ramadan. I would imagine it would have been quite stressful trying to make sure the hotel guests had a good experience whilst still being respectful to your host country. Although escaping for an afternoon on a catamaran sounds idyllic.
    The cake looks like the perfect way to end a fast!

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  14. Honestly, Anita, my day-to-day life is probably just like anyone's living in the western world. I drive. I shop. I eat out - alone even, if I want to. I attend a ladies Bible study and there are actually a bunch of churches to choose from, if church is your thing. I cannot speak for more conservative Muslim countries, but those I've lived in (Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates) are quite progressive and, if the only restriction is not wearing short shorts and sleeveless blouses, I'm good. I don't wear those at home anyway. :)

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  15. Thank you, Karen. Over the top is usually my goal. :)

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  16. Thank you, Nancy. I wish we all had a chance to meet people of different faiths and cultural heritages. And that the media would promote understanding instead of stirring up hatred. #pipedreams I know. In all my years of living all overseas, one thing I know for sure is that we are more alike than different. No matter where we come from or which God, if any, we worship.

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  17. Thank you, Kate. I enjoyed writing it and reminiscing. The cake was pretty good too. :)

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  18. It makes me sad to read that, Kelli. Because I know that it's not just your small area of the country that feels that way. Why can't we all be more tolerant? Actually, I'd like to aim higher. Why can't we all be more accepting? We profess to believe that all men are create equal but then we don't act like it. Deep sigh.


    Thanks for pinning the Bundt! I am always grateful when you share.

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  19. Wouldn't that be something, Alice, if I had been here for 25 years - I do have one friend who has been - but no, we moved on from Abu Dhabi after only two years and are just now recently back in the UAE, but in Dubai.


    Thanks for your kind words about the Bundt! It's a keeper.

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  20. I'd love to send you one, Holly! If it weren't all gone. I shared with a neighbor. One of the few who are still here for the summer. Thank you for your kind words.

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  21. I am so glad you know someone who is fasting and can appreciate the difficulty, Anne. Here they shorten the work day but in many parts of the world, Muslims are fasting through a very long day. Imagine being way up in the northern hemisphere where summer days last for 18 hours! Today, in Norway, for instance, the sun rises at around 4:45 a.m. and sets at almost 11 p.m. Now THAT'S a long day! I have to admire someone who can abstain from anything by mouth - water or food - for that long!


    Thank you for your kind words.

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  22. Anything by mouth is forbidden when you are fasting for Ramadan, Nancy. Even water. I am always asking questions, and I asked a friend once how she tasted all the lovely food she cooked for the break fast meal. She says she tastes but spits it out! Can you imagine? That must be the hardest!


    The afternoons on our catamaran are among my fondest memories of those days. Just beautiful.

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  23. Stacy ever since you told me how to pronounce "pecan" in your accent, I have to confess, I read your posts in your accent now...possibly odd I know!
    Now, another confession, I've never made a bundt cake before. Why? Because all those nooks and crannies where they could possibly get stuck scare the jingoes out of me. Time to be brave I think, (I even have a bundt cake tin) as this sounds and looks lovely.

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  24. The secret, Brydie, is to butter, butter, butter (or liberally spray with the non-stick stuff) and coat well with flour. I put a couple of tablespoon of flour in the pan and shake it all around until I am sure the butter is completely covered. Does this guarantee it will never stick? Sadly, no. But it gives you a fighting chance. I know some people who also add bread crumbs to the flour and swear by that, but I've never tried it. Our motto this year is #Fearlessin2013. I say, go for it. The worst that can happen is you have some lovely cake to use in a trifle. :)

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  25. I have some med school friends who celebrate Ramadan and it never ceases to amaze me how they can function throughout the day, through classes, through running around seeing patients without eating or drinking! It's really a testament to their dedication and faith.


    This bundt is just gorgeous! If I were fasting all day, it's certainly what i would want to break the fast with...and even though I'm not fasting, it's still something I think I need in my life!

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  26. You are so fortunate to have traveled so much and experienced different cultures. It makes for understanding other people, religions, traditions, and more so much better. You have baked a beautiful bundt and I'm loving the double glaze. I'm so total frosting gal.

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  27. The thoughts about what is like to live where you do, and experience a different culture, are so interesting Stacy. There´s so much to learn from every country´s ways of living. And it´s a wonderful bundt to break the fast. Double glaze! I love it, it´s not easy to accomplish either. Nice that you used a piping bag.

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  28. Stacy,
    That is such a good looking cake I think I would almost be afraid to cut into it.... ALmost!

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  29. Love love this post. Cannot wait to make this cake. Also a huge thanks for linking to my post.

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  30. Wonderful post Stacy. I have no idea how anyone can work whilst fasting. I've attempted a fast before (for a fundraising event) and I ended up fainting half way through the day. I went home and my mother force-fed me some fruit whilst I kept mumbling 'No, I can't... I'll fail the fundraiser...'!! Ah, I am a weakling. On another note, this is such a gorgeous cake! The double glaze looks divine, and the cake looks so, so moist. Thanks for sharing your experiences and this wonderful recipe with us xx

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  31. Was it 40-Hour Famine, Laura? My elder daughter took that fundraising challenge a couple of times while she was in high school. (We were living in KL - I don't think 40-HourFamine has made it to the States yet, or at least, none of my friends have mentioned their children doing it.) More than a fundraiser, I think it’s also supposed to make students understand how being hungry for an extended period feels. Most of us never do experience that otherwise. I guess you are a
    witness to how hard it can be!

    Thanks for your kind words about the cake!

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  32. Thank you for your whole blog, Marilyn. You are a wise voice in a wild world.

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  33. I figure life is an education, Paula. We all have so much to learn from each other. About the piping bag, I debated just drizzling with a spoon or using one but I decided it would be easier with the bag. And I was happy with that decision. :)

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  34. Thank you so much, Renee. This one is indeed well covered with frosting. There can never be too much frosting.

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  35. What a great post! First time here, so it was very cool to read about your life abroad. And this cake!? Well, it's just divine! xo

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  36. Thanks, Ashley! So glad you found me. I appreciate your visit and your kind words.

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  37. What a gorgeous Bundt cake! And thank you for sharing a little bit of what you've experienced living as an expat in a predominantly Muslim world. I always get a little worried about those who observe Ramadan when it falls during summer months. I cannot imagine going through your day without any food or drink during the hottest time of the year! They have my respect, that's for sure!

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  38. Thank you, Carrie! It concerns me too. Since Ramadan moves back about 10 days each calendar year, I guess it's fair over a lifetime. Everyone gets to experience the fasting month in different seasons throughout their lives. But it's got to be really hard on folks in the heat and long days of summer. Big respect!

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