Apple Cider Bundt Cake

Enter the year of the dragon.  Last year was the year of the rabbit.  I’m glad we managed to get Izzy during that time frame.  Luke is a dragon, so now you all know.  And I’m a snake…which is the next year to come, just in case you were wondering.

During the celebration of western New Year, I made this cake with my mom.  Before going down to CT I had some egg yolks to use up for whatever reason, so I decided to make pastry cream.  Caramel pastry cream to be exact.

I brought it along for the journey with the explicit purpose of pairing it with an apple cake.  I originally had hopes for a caramel apple layer cake, but my mom didn’t have round cake pans.  I was crestfallen, but determined to use that pastry cream nonetheless.

Since she did have a bundt pan, we decided on an apple cider bundt cake.  We had after all, just visited the local orchard/market and had picked up a fresh half gallon.

This cake is down right tasty, with or without the pastry cream.  It also ended up being breakfast the next morning, I love how bundt cakes are versatile like that.

Apple Cider Bundt Cake

Adapted from Pixelated Crumb

2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup apple cider, heated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter and flour a 10 inch bundt pan, or spray with cooking spray.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Add in eggs one at a time, beating after each, then add the vanilla extract.  Beat until incorporated.

Add in ¼ of the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Next, add in 1/3 of the buttermilk.  Continue to alternate adding the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and beat until smooth.

Slowly add in heated apple cider.  Mix until just combined.  Wipe down sides of the bowl, then transfer batter to the prepared bundt pan.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool in pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.  Invert cake and let cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.

Caramel Pastry Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

3 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

Spread the ½ cup sugar in an even layer in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat without stirring until the sugar begins to melt around the edges.  Using a heatproof spatula, slowly drag the liquefied sugar to the center and stir gently until all the sugar is melted.  Continue to cook, stirring infrequently, until the caramel turns dark amber in color and begins to foam a bit.  Remove from heat and gradually stir in the milk.

The caramel will bubble up vigorously, then the bubbling will subside.  If the caramel seizes into a hardened mass, (like mine did) whisk the mixture over low heat until most of the caramel is dissolved.  Don’t worry about any small chunks; they’ll dissolve later.

Sift the flour into the caramel mixture, then whisk to break up any clumps.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in a small amount of the hot thickened caramel mixture.  Scrape the yolk mixture into the saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, and cook until thickened to the consistency of mayonnaise.  Press the pastry cream through a mesh strainer set over a large bowl, then whisk in vanilla and salt.  Let cool completely.  Cover remaining pastry cream and store in the fridge.

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