An unlikely place for most people when searching for baking and cooking ideas is the NY Times. However, it is actually one of my go-to recipe resources. On this cold fall day, that is exactly where I turned in search of something that would really bring on the feeling of the season. A bundt cake with spices, toasted nuts, apples and bourbon.
While the reward is great, this bundt cake is not without some time and effort. I peeled and shredded the granny smith apples and then chopped and soaked candied ginger in bourbon.
I had bought a box of The Ginger People candied ginger and it was the most moist, sweet and flavorful candied ginger that I have ever tasted. I was considering maybe just having a box of ginger for lunch. I cracked the eggs and toasted the nuts...incorporating each ingredient...
I buttered and floured the bundt pan and slipped the cake into the hot oven. Ten minutes later, while it was baking, I took out the garbage. On my way back, I realized that I could smell that amazing Fall richness bursting out of my apartment's door and all the way down the hall. I am actually really surprised that my neighbors have never even said a word to me about the smells of my cooking. How can they not smell it?? ...and I guess they don't want any? I would love to share.
Seeing how this is DC, they are all probably just government drones and can't smell or feel...
The next morning I told Brian how happy baking makes me and that I wished I could bake something else today. He asked if I could make something healthy instead. Hmmm, maybe he would be more excited if next time I make this cake with his beloved... that beautiful bottle of rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon that is hiding in our liquor cabinet just above my baking spices.
Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake (from NY Times)
2 sticks unsalted butter (226 grams), at room temperature, plus more to grease pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (315 grams), plus more to dust the pan
3 tablespoons (30 grams) plus 1/2 cup (80 grams) bourbon or rye whiskey
1/2 cup (90 grams) candied ginger, chopped
1 3/4 cup (330 grams) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons (3 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 grams) fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
1 tablespoon (15 grams) vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon (5 grams) finely grated lemon zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples (about a pound, 454 grams), peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
1 cup (120 grams) finely chopped, toasted pecans
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (20 grams).
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons bourbon and the candied ginger. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and remaining butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla. Pour in the bourbon from the ginger mixture (reserve ginger) and whisk until smooth. Stir in zest.
4. With the mixer on medium speed, add the dry mixture and sour cream mixture to the wet mixture in three additions, alternating between the two. Fold in the ginger, apples and pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in the pan 20 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides of the pan to release the cake; cool, flat side down, on a wire rack.
5. While the cake cools, combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup whiskey in a small saucepan. Over low heat, gently stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice and take off the heat.
6. While the cake cools, make 10 slits on top with a paring knife and pour half the bourbon-sugar mixture on the still-warm cake. When the cake is fully cool, flip it and pour the rest of the glaze on the other side, then flip again to serve.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings.