Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pecan Golden Syrup Bundt Cake

My house has been full these last few weeks, filled with family and good times.  Of course, it has kept me busy but it is a joy to have more folks to feed.  Since I am always looking for new ideas, I am delighted to take part for the first time in Belleau Kitchen's Random Recipe Challenge.  

Here’s how the Random Recipe Challenge works:   Number your cookbooks and choose one randomly.  Or make a big pile of them and pick one out with your eyes closed.  Then make the first recipe on the first random page you open.   Since I belong to EatYourBooks,  this was very easy.  Right now I have 89 cookbooks registered (Don’t ask me how many aren’t yet!) so I asked my daughter to pick a number and she said 11.  I counted down and the 11th book on my list is Nigella’s Kitchen.  One of my very favorite cookbooks!  The random page I opened to was her Pecan Maple Bundt Cake, which I had yet to make, so it was perfect.  I don’t have maple syrup in Cairo but thankfully the Random Recipe rules allow for substitutions for availability or dietary restriction.  So here goes.

For the pecan filling:
1 rounded 1/2 cup or 75g plain flour
2 rounded tablespoons or 30g soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 150g pecans (or walnuts) (I used pecans, of course.) 
125ml maple or golden syrup (I used Lyle’s Golden Syrup.)

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups or 310g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda or bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 rounded 1/2 cup or 125g soft unsalted butter
Scant 3/4 cup or 160g sugar
2 eggs
1 cup or 250ml sour cream or crème fraîche
1–2 teaspoons confectioners' or icing sugar, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease your Bundt pan. 

First, make the filling.  Toast your pecans in a baking pan for about 10-15 minutes in the preheating oven.  Watch them carefully so they don’t scorched.  Chop the pecans roughly.

Mix the flour with the butter using a fork.  You want it to look like small crumbs.  

Stir in the cinnamon, chopped pecans and golden syrup.  This will be very thick, almost solid.   Set aside.

To make the cake batter, measure your dry cake ingredients into a small bowl: the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix well. 

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with beaters or in your standing mixer.   

Then beat in one tablespoon of the flour mixture, then one egg.  

Then add another tablespoonful of flour mixture followed by the second egg.

Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat while adding the sour cream.  The batter will be very thick.

Spoon just more than half of the cake batter around the Bundt pan.  Spread the batter up the sides so that you make a channel of sorts in the middle of the batter.  This is to avoid having the filling leak out while baking.

Use a tablespoon to fill the channel in the batter with your pecan filling. 

Cover with the remaining batter and smooth the top. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.   Check with a cake tester after 30 minutes.  Make sure to get the tester into the cake part because the filling will probably not come out clean, even when the cake is baked through.

Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes and then loosen the sides with a small spatula or knife.  Turn the cake out.  

Cool completely and then decorate by sprinkling with icing or confectioners’ sugar.  This cake was gone in a heartbeat!  I think they even licked the plate. 


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Click on the graphic to see how other bloggers have met the challenge this month!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Orange Marmalade Pumpkin Muffins for #MuffinMonday

When I was about five years old, we moved from Houston to Trinidad.  My father worked for Texaco and we lived in the small company camp of Pointe-a-Pierre.   When we first arrived, our house wasn’t ready yet because my father had asked them to install windows.  All the little bungalows had screens to keep out the bugs, but no glass.  He says they called him a crazy American because he wanted windows!  Of course, his goal was an air-conditioned house and windows were essential to that plan.  Anyway, we stayed the first few weeks in the Texaco guest house, next to a main dining hall, and took most (all?) of our meals there.  It was my first introduction to orange marmalade which looks just like a sweet jam but with little strips of orange rind.  I was an all-American grape jelly eater so I knew sweet on toast and had no problem loading up with butter and marmalade.  That first bite was bitter surprise.  Followed closely by dismay.  “Who eats this foul stuff?” I thought.  Fast forward years and years later, and I married a man who loves marmalade.  He grew up eating the foul stuff, being of the British persuasion.  We lived a few places where I couldn’t find orange marmalade for him so I started hauling back a large can of thin-cut Seville oranges from the United Kingdom to make it myself.  Because that’s the kind of person I am.  Each can was almost a kilo of prepared oranges.  Just add water and sugar, cook it down and you have several jars of “homemade” marmalade to last the year.   And, you know, I discovered that orange marmalade wasn’t near as bitter or nasty as I remembered it.   In fact, it was quite nice.

I was delighted this week when I received the email with the #MuffinMonday recipe (which came from this wonderful book) because I knew my husband would love them.  If you are a fan of orange marmalade or if it’s been a long time since you gave it a second chance, try these. 

2 1/2 cups or 315g flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 170g sugar
1/2 cup shredded orange marmalade plus more to glaze
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup or 220g cooked pumpkin (canned or fresh)
1 cup or 240ml buttermilk  (or 1 tablespoon white vinegar mixed 10 minutes ahead with 1 cup or 240ml whole milk)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C and line your muffin tin with paper liners or spray thoroughly with non-stick spray.

Mix together all of your dry ingredients: the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

In another small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients except the butter: the orange marmalade, the eggs, the pumpkin and buttermilk. 

Once they are thoroughly mixed, whisk in the melted butter.

Pour the liquid mixture over the flour mixture and fold it in with a rubber spatula until the flour is incorporated.  Do not over mix.

Divide the batter between your muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove the muffins from the tin. 

Add about half a teaspoon of marmalade to the top of each muffin and spread it around with the back of your teaspoon to glaze.


Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street.  A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week.   Drop Anuradha a quick line to join her on this journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.