Perhaps you've seen her in the comments section of this blog now and then? Mary, the Food Librarian? I'm pleased to have her as my blog friend but she is also an actual, bona fide food blog celebrity -- if there is such a thing. She is an actual librarian who has one of the most amazing (and prolific) baking blogs I've seen on the net. And, like me, she diligently takes her offerings to work to share with her fellow workers -- only her office mates must be the luckiest co-workers on the planet since she bakes on a near-daily basis. While I've been inspired by her several times to bake muffins over the years I have up until now avoided her stock in trade: The Bundt Cake.
So why now? Well today, believe it or not, is National Bundt Cake Day. Last year I just shook my head in disbelief as Mary celebrated it by treating the blogasphere to 3o bundt cakes in 30 days. This year Mary is closing in on her 40th birthday so dementia must be setting in as she has inexplicably decided to do it once again this year! It has been quite fun to see every sort of bundt imaginable pop up on her blog. She can get quite creative and somewhat liberal inside her definition of a bundt cake but given how many she has to do each year it is forgivable. And fun. I think my favorite this time around was the "Croquembundt", a bundt cake made from dozens of cream puffs. (I have a storied past with the dessert -- I hope to one day get my mojo back enough to make a croquembouch again. Stay tuned!)
I know this will be somewhat is shocking...but... if I am to be honest with you, and you know I always am, this year I hadn't really planned on celebrating National Bundt Cake Day. I know, right? Where was my holiday spirit? I've been quite busy and my company doesn't give us the day off as a paid holiday so there wasn't really a lot of time to plan. I suppose that is part of the appeal of bundt cakes as they don't really require all that much planning and just about zero time for decorating. (Maybe that is why Mary likes them so much?) Had I planned ahead I doubt that I would be making a pumpkin based bundt since sweet pumpkin isn't really my thing but felt the tangy cranberries would be a good offset to it.
So what changed and put me in the mood? Yesterday I woke up thinking about a good friend of ours whom I hadn't gone to visit in a long time and I was feeling a bit guilty. Then while scrolling through Mary's abundtant offerings this "bundt season" I could no longer ignore the festive spirit and decided right there to make a bundt, bring it to my friend, and have a nice visit. Surely a friend can forgive you your brief absence if you arrive offering up your bundt?
My bundt pan is probably one of the oldest pans I own. It was my grandmother's and there is absolutely nothing special about it except that it is quite special to me. I'm stocked to the gills with All Clad now but I'll never get rid of this pan. It is one of those old, cheap, supermarket pans made of a thin aluminum which has a tendency to overcook the outside of each cake it holds. The only cake I can remember her making in it is a so-called "famous" pecan rum cake which made every holiday season. THAT, will be a post for another day as today it is National Bundt Cake Day and Mary, this one is for you! (Check out Mary's bundt pan collection here!)
Sis. Boom. [bundt!]
- 2 cups AP flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin
- 1/3 cup peach preserves (use any you have. Apple butter is good too.)
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
- 1 cup pecans
- turbinado sugar (for topping)
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch of salt, ginger, and allspice in a bowl and whisk to combine. In a stand mixer with paddle cream the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy and volume doubles. Add eggs one at a time and let mix in before you add the next egg. Lower speed and blend in vanilla, then pumpkin, preserves. Slowly add the dry ingredients while mixer is on low and stop mixture just when they are incorporated. With a rubber spatula finish the mixing and scrape the bowl. Fold in the cranberries and remaining pecans. Scrape into the pan and use spatula to even the top.
Check cake after 1 hour with a knife. If it comes out clean take out of oven. If not, keep it in for 10 more minutes or until knife or skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack before inverting. Cake can be glazed when it is at room temperature.