Thursday, May 21, 2015

Culture Confusion Rocky Road Bundt #BundtBakers

This Bundt is a riot of cultural influences and flavors and colors that somehow come together to create one of the richest Bundts I’ve ever baked: Turkish delight, dried apricots, syrupy stem ginger, pistachios, dried cranberries and date molasses, in a Jamaican ginger batter, finished off with a decorative flourish of American marshmallow fluff.

This is the TCK or third culture kid of cakes, feeling the pull of the Far East, Middle East, Jamaica by way of the British Isles and the United States as well. This month our Bundt Baker host, Laura of Baking in Pyjamas, challenged us to bake a Bundt with the flavors and ingredients of Rocky Road. For those unfamiliar, rocky road is an unbaked confection that usually contains nuts, fruit, chocolate and marshmallows, sometimes cookies, but a little research soon revealed that the combinations depend greatly on where one lives.  I was intrigued by a recipe on for a Turkish Delight Rocky Road and decided to use those basic ingredients, but baked in cake batter. (And substituting a North American ingredient, cranberries, for the glacĂ© cherries because glacĂ© cherries? Just no.)

Ah, but which cake batter? Sure, I could have done a plain cake but if you’ve been reading along here a while you know that I don’t often take the easy way out. I like a challenge. So I started looking for a cake recipe with Turkish delight and came across this moist and beautiful ginger loaf baked with fond memories of her English childhood, from my fellow UAE blogger, Sally of My Custard Pie. Now Sally’s ginger cake was already loaded with flavor and the only thing Turkish delight about it ended up being a gorgeous pink rose flavored icing. But I could already taste all of my added flavors baked in that fabulous batter. It’s a gift.

To finish it off Rocky Road style, I piped on some marshmallow fluff. Only after it was baked did I realize that, with so much going on, I forgot chocolate. Sorry, Laura!

For the cake batter:
1/2 cup or 90g dried apricots
1 cup or 150g unsalted pistachios, divided
1/2 cup or 85g dried cranberries
 3 1/2 oz or 100g Turkish Delight
1 knob of stem ginger
2 cups or 250g flour plus a little extra for flouring Bundt pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground (powdered) ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup, firmly packed, or 100g brown sugar
1/2 cup or 113g unsalted butter
1/2 cup or 120ml golden syrup
1/3 cup or 80ml date molasses (Normal molasses can be substituted.)
1 generous tablespoon syrup from jar of stem ginger
1 large egg
2/3 cup or 155 ml milk

To decorate:
1/2 cup marshmallow creme or fluff or use a thick glaze of your choosing
Cranberries and pistachios, amounts as per the instructions below

Finely chop about one quarter of your pistachios in a food processor. You are looking for a lot of pistachios dust, very fine crumbs and some small pieces.

Roughly chop the rest of your pistachios with a knife and set aside about one quarter of them to decorate the Bundt after baking.

Cut your cranberries, apricots and Turkish delight into small pieces.  Using scissors is easier than the knife. Mince your stem ginger.  Set aside about one quarter of the cranberry pieces for decorating the cake after baking.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and liberally butter and lightly flour your 10-cup Bundt pan. In case you are curious, mine is the Nordic Ware Fleur de Lis.  <affiliate link

Now sprinkle the finely chopped pistachios around the side and middle of the Bundt pan. The bigger pieces will not stick and will fall into the deep grooves of the pan. This is a good thing.

Sift the flour for the cake into a large mixing bowl and add in the baking powder, ginger, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

Add the cut apricots, Turkish delight and the bigger pile of cranberries to the flour mixture and use your hands to make sure they are all well coated and not sticking together.

In a large saucepan, gently warm the golden syrup, date molasses and the ginger syrup with the brown sugar and butter till the butter is just melted and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Measure your milk into a measuring jug, add in the egg and whisk well with a fork.

Pour your barely warm molasses mixture into the flour bowl then add the milk with egg and the minced stem ginger. Mix lightly.

Fold in the larger pile of chopped pistachios.

Pour the batter into your prepared Bundt pan.

Bake on the middle shelf in your preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. The cake should be pulling away from the sides slightly.

Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then use your wooden skewer to loosen any bits of cake adhering to the sides or middle of the Bundt pan, before turning the cake out.

Allow to cool completely before decorating.

To decorate, put your marshmallow fluff in a piping bag and follow the contours of your cake. My initial plan was for fuller coverage but the diamonds that appeared on top because of the pistachios were too cool to hide, so I ended up not using all the marshmallow fluff. If you have a traditional Bundt pan, just pipe that sticky stuff all over.

Poke bits of cranberry and pistachio all over the cake until you think there’s enough or you run out. Over the past 20 years I’ve had a couple of good friends who have baked and decorated with me and they will tell you that I often need to be stopped when contemplating the addition of just one more thing. But more is more, I say.

A note on marshmallow fluff: It’s not the best medium to stick stuff to a cake, even a cold cake, because it starts to slide. If you aren’t trying to mimic rocky road ingredients, feel free to substitute your favorite glaze. Perhaps even Sally’s pretty in pink Turkish Delight one or her alternate option, flavored with fresh lemongrass.

Many thanks to Laura from Baking in Pyjamas for this great theme. I know you all are going to enjoy the variety of flavors and cakes we have for you today! Remember, just because it's called Rocky Road, doesn't mean it's all the same inside!


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Aaaaand, if you happen to have extra marshmallow fluff and a willing pooch (and by willing I mean he sits patiently waiting for a taste whenever I fill a green piping bag - he knows!) then by all means, give him a mustache and let him lick it off.  Hey, it's his 8th birthday on Saturday. Special treat.

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