Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gram's Fig Spice Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze for #BundtaMonth

This summer I went to a farmers’ market in New Iberia, Louisiana with my grandmother.  We bought a bunch of figs and I made her fig preserves.  I mean I made fig preserves for her, from HER own recipe.  Simplest recipe ever and you can find it here.  On that same visit, she let me clear out the drawer of recipes and cookbooks that she had accumulated over the years and take them home with me.  Amongst them, I found her handwritten recipe for fig cake with buttermilk glaze.

Unfortunately, I had sent her all the fig preserves I made so, how to make the cake?  Until I found this on the shelf at my local Carrefour in Cairo.

Back in business!  Are the Carrefour preserves as a good as Gram’s homemade ones?  Probably not.  But this cake is awesome and delicious and it is also my contribution for November’s edition of BundtaMonth where we are making spice cake.  Scroll on down to the bottom of this post to see links to all the lovely spice Bundt cakes that have been made this month.   Gram has a serious sweet tooth and I think she would like them all!  Many thanks to our hosts for this challenge:  Anuradha at Baker Street and Lora at Cake Duchess.


My grandmother will turn 99 years old next month – on 22 December - and we are hoping and praying that she continues in good health so we can celebrate 100 years next year.  And many birthdays thereafter.  We think she has a shot at a world record.  She still asks to go to the casino on her birthday because they give her free money to gamble!  We should all live so long and so well.

Here she is hopping up on the red swing in her yard last summer.  Red has always been her favorite color and the swing is her favorite place to hang out.

Her one true love lately is this cat she calls Minou. Which means Kitty in French.  All of her cats over the years have been called Minou.  Because she has a great sense of humor and it keeps life simple.

And one last photo where she is smiling.  That's a hard one to catch.  With her two youngest children, my Aunt Nonnie and Uncle Kippy. :)  My father is her eldest and he just turned 77 this month.  Imagine if your child is 77!  Love you, Gram!

For the Bundt:
2 cups or 250g flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups or 340g sugar
1 cup or 225g butter, melted and cooled
1 cup or 240ml buttermilk
3 eggs
1 cup fig preserves (if using homemade, chop the figs and use the juice as well)
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans because I am pretty sure that’s what Gram would have used.)
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the glaze:
1 cup or 220g sugar
1/2 cup or 120ml buttermilk
1 tablespoon corn syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons or 60g butter

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

Mix dry ingredients, add butter and beat well.

Add eggs one at a time, alternating with buttermilk.

Scrape down the bowl.

Then add figs, nuts and vanilla.  Beat for another couple of minutes on medium.

Pour into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes then run a knife or wooden skewer around the pan edges to loosen.  I clearly overfilled my pan so I had to cut around the middle to make sure it would release.

Put your cake plate on top of the Bundt pan and invert.  If you have greased and floured it well, the cake should drop out easily.  Allow to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, let’s make the glaze.  Mix all ingredients and boil for six minutes, stirring constantly.  The original recipe says three minutes but the glaze was very runny and I figured, even on a cooled cake, most of it would end up on the cake plate below.

Allow to cool until it thickens slightly.  Drizzle over cake.

This glaze hardens somewhat and turns almost clear on the cake, making a shiny sticky, chewy outside which is the perfect match for the tender crumb inside.  I cannot tell you how freaking good this is.  Hats off to you, Gram!  It’s a winner.


Check out all the other BundtaMonth cakes for Spicy November:

Apple Bundt Cake with an Attitude by Deb | Knitstamatic
Blueberry Cinnamon Bundt Cake by Anuradha | Baker Street
Cardamom Bundt Cake with Rosewater Glaze by Paula | Vintage Kitchen
Cinnamon Crown Bundt Cake by Renee | Magnolia Days
Ginger Pear Bundt Cake by Holly | A Baker's House
Gingerbread Apple Cake by Lora | Cake Duchess
Gram's Fig Spice Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze by Stacy | Food Lust People Love
Italian Anise Bundt Cake by Karen | In The Kitchen with KP
Maple Pecan Bundt with Maple Glaze by Jennie | The Messy Baker Blog
Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake by Alice Choi | Hip Foodie Mom
Moroccan Inspired Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Ras El Hanout by Laura | The Spiced Life
Nutmeg Bundt Cake by Dorothy | Shockingly Delicious
Peach and Roasted Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Sugar by Kim | Cravings Of A Lunatic
Spiced Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon Glaze by Kate | Food Babbles
Spicy Chocolate Bourbon Bundt Cake by Carrie | Poet In The Pantry

Here’s how you can join #BundtAMonth  -
- Bake your Bundt for November following the theme – Spice.
- Post it before November 30, 2012.
- Use the #BundtAMonth hashtag in your title. (For ex: title should read #BundtAMonth: Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt)
- Add your entry to the Linky tool below
- Link back to both Lora and Anuradha’s announcement posts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cranberry Clementine Muffins #MuffinMonday

Is there anyone who isn’t a fan of Nigella Lawson?  Okay, don’t answer that because I don’t really want to know.  This season of US election vitriol has left me weary of dissension and backbiting and intolerance.   Plus I adore Nigella so I would have to leap to her defense and, frankly, I have been traveling and staying up late nattering with good friends, eating good food and drinking good wine, and I just don’t have the energy for jumping about defensively.  Anyway, the point is she has some wonderful recipes and even if you don’t like her seductive manner or are jealous of her ample cleavage, you have to agree about that.  One of my very favorites is a clementine cake (originally from her How to Eat) which calls for boiling the whole fruit and then pureeing it.  When I got the recipe for this week’s Muffin Monday, I was mulling the options for a dried cranberry muffin and the friend I am staying with this week said, “Why don’t you add orange zest?  Orange and cranberry go so well together.”  And Nigella’s clementine cake recipe jumped into my mind and I responded, “You are so right, but I think I’ll go one better than zest.  I’ll add whole clementines!  (We happened to have some handy.)  And so I did and, if you are a fan of orange marmalade, you will like these muffins.  They are not very sweet so they are definitely a breakfast type muffin rather than dessert.  The original recipe is from Taste.com.au.

4 oz or 100g whole clementines (I used four of those little babies.)
1 cup or 140g dried cranberries
2 cups or 300g self-raising flour
3/4 cup or 155g brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml vegetable oil
1 egg

Pop your whole clementines into a small pot and cover with water.  Bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, for an hour.  Check occasionally and add more water to cover if needed.

Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C.  Line your 12-cup muffin pan with paper cases or grease it well.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Whisk milk, oil and egg together in another bowl.

When the clementines are done, drain off the water and cut them open to remove the seeds.  Puree them in a food processor and allow to cool.

Add the cooled clementines to the liquid ingredients and whisk again.

Add liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Gently fold in the cranberries.

Divide your batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool.  These are best served warm.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cheesy Ham Waffles

Grated extra sharp cheddar and sliced smoky ham make a great addition to buttermilk waffle batter!

Once upon a time, I saw a post on another blog for cheese and ham waffles.   And I bookmarked it to make on the weekend.  But I must confess that I didn’t read the whole post and when the weekend came, and when I DID read the whole post, I realized that the waffle was just topped with cheese and ham.  And that was certainly not what I had been dreaming about all week.  So I decided to make my own version, the one in my dreams.  And it was perfect.  And dreams can come true.

The End. 

1 3/4 cups or 220g flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda or bicarbonate of soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 cups or 475ml buttermilk or 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and milk up to the two-cup or 475ml measure.
1/3 cup or 78ml canola or other light oil plus extra for greasing the waffle maker
2 eggs
3.5 oz or 100g strong cheddar
3.5 oz or 100g smoked ham
Butter and syrup, if desired, to serve

Preheat your waffle maker as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Grate your cheddar and finely chop your ham.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Add in the buttermilk (or milk/vinegar mixture which is an excellent substitute for buttermilk) and oil and the eggs.   Beat until thoroughly blended.

Add in the ham and cheese and mix well.

Using a pastry brush, grease your waffle maker with some canola or other light oil.

Pour batter into the center of the lower half of the waffle maker, being careful to leave room for when the batter spreads out as you lower the lid and also for when the waffle starts to rise when baking.

Close the lid and watch for the signal that your waffle is cooking.  On my waffle maker, the light goes green when it is ready for batter, red when it is cooking and then green again when the waffle is ready.  I leave the waffle in just a little bit longer after the light turns green the second time so the waffles are nice and crispy.  But if you like them less crunchy, by all means take them out earlier.




Serve smeared with butter and drizzled with syrup.  And your preferred beverages.   As you can see, this story has a very happy ending.