I haven’t been in the kitchen much lately for holiday cooking, however, I have been in the kitchen to organize and clean out the cabinets. A couple of weeks ago, I came across my Bundt pan.
I haven’t seen it in years! It brought back such great memories! Mom used to make Bundt cakes every now and again, but she went through a period of making them weekly at the height of the Bundt cake craze. I remember those cakes as having one flavor on the outside with a different flavor inside so that when the cake is cut, it looks like it has a circle of a different cake inside. Mom usually made them vanilla on the outside and chocolate on the inside but any two flavors will work. I never used my Bundt cake pan to make Bundt cakes, I am not actually sure if I ever used it for anything except for making monkey bread. Anyway, the discovery of the long misplaced Bundt pan led me on a mission to find a Bundt cake recipe. I gathered all the community cookbooks that I recently acquired along with some I already had on hand to find the perfect recipe.
Much to my surprise, there was not one Bundt cake recipe in any of them. Not one. What to do? Maybe Bundt cakes have been out of fashion much longer than I realized or maybe I don’t really know what a Bundt cake is? An investigation ensued. Apparently, any cake cooked in a ring Bundt cake pan qualifies as a Bundt cake. Good to know—however, at our house, why were the cakes with the different fillings called Bundt cakes while other cakes cooked in the same ring pan were simply called cakes or pound cakes (if they were pound cakes)? Since Mom is no longer with us, this mystery may never be solved. Okay, so I need to come up with a cake that has a softer creamier filling. There used to be cake mixes with two different flavors with the filling one already mixed and easily poured into the center of the outer layer, and then more outer layer poured on top of it. I haven’t seen any of those mixes lately.
My first attempt (see photo below) was vanilla cake with cherry filling. It tasted okay but I didn’t get the inside layer into a perfect circle. When it was sliced, it looked more like a “T” than a circle…The second attempt was cherry with chocolate filling (see photo below) and third attempt was also cherry with chocolate filling but it collapsed, although it tasted okay (see photo below). The fourth attempt is cherry with chocolate filling (see photo below) was just okay, nothing extra. I think it was because I used drained canned cherries. One afternoon, I flipped through one of my cookbooks looking for something new to cook for dinner and there it was, Aunt Chris’ strawberry cake recipe. I haven’t seen it in years. I made it many times but never in a Bundt pan. Anyway, I wanted to make something cherry for Valentine’s Day so I thought I would substitute cherry gelatin for the strawberry gelatin and cherries for the strawberries. I included the chocolate filling and it turned out really tasty but not exceptional (See photo of Almost the Winner - 5th attempt).
I think that the filling made it a bit too sweet and dense; however, I will include the filling recipe below in case you want to include it when you bake the cake. In the end, I used maraschino cherries in the winning cake. Frozen cherries had no taste when baked in the cake. The same was true for canned drained sweet dark cherries (they were also a bit flimsy in the cake). The maraschino cherries worked perfectly because they held their shape while adding a burst of flavor and bright pop of color to the cake. I found some white chocolate bar candy in my fridge so I made white chocolate ganache for the icing and I added a few sliced maraschinos in the center. It’s sure to become a universal pleaser! Here’s the recipe:
Cherry Bundt Cake
Heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. I suggest using a non-stick Bundt cake sprayed liberally with cooking spray. I didn’t use any flour in my pan because I didn’t want it on the outside of my cooked cake. All the cakes tested released from the pan perfectly when turned out onto the serving dish.
Mix together the following ingredients with a hand mixer:
4 large eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 white cake mix
1 small box (3.4 oz.) of instant vanilla pudding mix
1 small box (3 oz.) of cherry gelatin
Next, fold in ¾ cup of sliced maraschino cherries.
Pour the mixture into your prepared Bundt cake pan and bake for about 40 minutes (I used the shortest cook time listed on the cake mix box then tested it every 5 minutes. My cake was done at about 38-40 minutes. Let it cool completely before removing it from the pan.
White Chocolate Ganache
100 grams of white chocolate chopped finely
100 grams of heavy cream heated until just the outer rim is bubbling slightly
1 tsp of butter
½ tsp of vanilla
Pour the heated cream over the chopped white chocolate, add the butter and vanilla and stir until all the white chocolate is melted. Let it cool a bit before pouring over the cake. This ganache is quite runny and so it soaks wonderfully into the cake. I only used about half of it for the cake topping and added the leftover to the individual slices when I served it.
Mix together the following ingredients. Make sure they are at room temperature so they mix well:
4 oz. room temperature cream cheese
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp of cocoa powder
1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Put the filling in a zip top bag.
After you fill the Bundt cake pan with your cake batter, cut the corner off the zip top bag and pour the filling in a circular fashion over top of the batter (go ahead and laugh when you do this, David certainly did). Don’t worry about it sitting on top of the batter as it will sink down as the cake bakes.
Happy Valentine's Day!