There’s something about baking Bundt cakes that melts my heart. Maybe it’s the thick, reassuringly heavy texture of their batter: so many people give the word “heavy” a negative meaning, but if it describes the weight of a cake tin full of sweet goodness, it can’t be too much of a bad thing. Or maybe it’s their old-fashioned look, as if they’d just come out of a vintage cookbook, or a grandmother’s oven on a wintry afternoon. Well, that’s a wild flight of imagination, as I never owned a vintage cookbook, and my grandma never used to bake. But if she did, I like to think she’d serve up something as homely and heartwarming, because that’s what she is and always has been to me.
My favourite thing about Bundt cakes, though, is the thrill of reversing the tin once they’re ready; a process that could go wrong in many different ways, but so rarely does. Some cakes fail to rise, sink in the middle, puff up in the oven and then mercilessly crack up. Bundt cakes don’t. Even with the shortest, simplest ingredient list, you’re guaranteed to uncover a perfect artwork. How do I know? Because I nearly burnt one of my Bundt cakes, and it was still a success.
It was a sad affair of turning the oven temperature too high, and only realising it too late. I’d baked it as a goodbye treat to my colleagues at my old job, and felt terribly guilty about the mishap, but at 10pm on a Thursday, there was no starting again from scratch. I scraped off the burnt bits, thanked my lucky stars that the inside was still intact, and headed to the office with a box of icing sugar, to patch up the mess before everyone came in. By 11am it was all gone; not even a crumb was left on the serving plate. Even I enjoyed it, despite the hours I’d spent cursing at it (and my deadly clumsiness) the night before. I might have shouted at my oven, had a little cry and called myself a loser. How very mature of me.
The cake at issue was Scandi Home’s Sour Cream Cake, and even after that semi-disastrous first attempt, I knew my kitchen would be seeing more of it very soon. Its simplicity is an invitation to go wild with tweaks, turning the most basic recipe into a creative, ingenious bake; when I stumbled across my friend Angela’s maple and walnut Bundt cake, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it. There were no temperature malfunctionings this time, no hitches, no mistakes. And I’m grateful for that, for by the time the sweet smell of cake batter and maple syrup began filling my kitchen, I couldn’t wait to get hold of the first slice.
Sour Cream Bundt Cake with Nut and Maple Filling
(Makes 10 – 12 slices)
For the cake (adapted from Scandi Home’s Sour Cream Cake)
- 2 eggs
- 150g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300ml sour cream
- 230g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the filling (adapted from The Awkward Blog’s Maple Walnut Bundt Cake)
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 50g pecans, roughly chopped
- 100ml maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 75g plain flour
- 30g butter
Prepare the cake batter
- Beat the sugar and eggs in a bowl, until you obtain a light, fluffy mixture.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- Gradually sift in the flour and baking powder; mix delicately, working from bottom to top.
- Alternate helpings of flour with helpings of cream, mixing delicately until well combined.
- Pour half the batter in a greased bundt tin (I used a silicone bundt mould, which didn’t require greasing).
Fill the cake
- Mix the nuts, cinnamon, maple syrup, butter and flour in a small bowl, until you obtain a creamy filling, with no butter lumps.
- Spread the filling on top of the cake batter you poured into the tin.
- Cover with the remaining cake batter, and even out the surface with a spoon.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°, and bake for 40 – 50 minutes.
- Insert a flat knife, skewer or toothpick straight into the middle of your cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready for you to take out of the oven.
- Set aside to cool down, then slice and serve.
- Decorate with icing sugar, or serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top. To me, these are all optionals – I love how it tastes on its own!