Sometimes it’s the small, simple things in life that can inspire the most ambitious projects. Take, for instance, coming upon a beautiful vintage bundt pan in a thrift store. A unique style, full of beautiful twists, turns and curves. Something you could never find anywhere else.
I saw this particular bundt pan a few weeks ago out of the corner of my eye, ran over to it, drooled for a few seconds, but unfortunately couldn’t find a price tag, therefore leaving it behind. I figured if I still thought about it a week or so later, that it was probably one of those purchased I’d come back for. And if it were still there, it was meant to be. You too rationalize purchases based on the amount of time you’ve spent thinking about them, right?
And so it was. Still no price tag, but it was waiting there just for me. I took it up to the counter, the dealer was called to tell us the price 20-odd minutes later, and this gorgeous gem was mine. Later that night I dreamt up this recipe. (More like laid awake in bed a bit dreaming up concoctions I was sure weren’t in existence just yet.)
Introspective ambitions with bundt cakes. Hey, I think I just thought of my first cookbook name! (if I ever get that far). I like it. Pear plus cardamom (a LOT of cardamom) plus a Cabin Fever maple whiskey glaze. YES. Introspective ambitions, indeed.
So yes, now I am on a bundt cake making roll. I love the artistic pans available out there, and the possibilities of cake combinations are endless. I’d jot down a few of the ideas I’ve had so far, but if I keep them a secret, they’re more than likely to become a reality more so than just a thought or idea. A way to motivate myself to bake them all, perhaps. Let’s just say I made my second one today and can’t wait to share that recipe too! But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself…
The first attempt of making this was an absolute fail. F-A-I-L. I think I “adapted” my recipe too far out there and it ended up being a big, gloopy gloppy mess. You see, I tried to make it gluten-friendly, and combined the ideas from 3 different recipes, basically. Apparently a big no-no. But here we’ve got it good. After a bit of trial and error with this one, I believe the biggest lesson is to bake longer than expected. Like, really long. I’m not sure if it’s the water content of the pear or what, but both times it seems that the inside dough just wasn’t done enough. But I’m suspecting several reasons for this. It may even be the pan. Yes, that darn cute vintage pan may be the cause of it all. I’m questioning the efficiency of heat conduction with the metal of the pan. Regardless, it’s a delicious recipe and should work just fine with any other (newer) bundt pan of any nature.
Also, if you have not yet heard of Cabin Fever maple flavored whiskey, become familiar. It’s awesome stuff. Luckily I live right behind a liquor store (and those are not always easy to come by in Oregon) that carries it, but I’m still slowly working my way through the first bottle, savoring every last drop. My guy really likes a splash of it in his afternoon coffee, and I must admit, it’s a nice touch. I’m not always a huge fan of whiskey by itself, but pair it with this maple business and it’s heaven. New thought: adding a splash to regular maple syrup before drizzling on waffles or pancakes! I digress…
- For the Cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch cloves
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups dark brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup canola oil
- ½ cup Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 pears, diced
- For the Whiskey Glaze:
- 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
- ¼ cup Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a bundt pan with oil and flour, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, stir together sugars, eggs, vanilla, and oil.
- Alternately add the flour mixture, whiskey and milk to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the flour in three parts and the whiskey and milk in two. Mix until just combined.
- Stir in the pears until they are evenly distributed.
- Pour batter into pan. Smooth the top and bake for at least 1 hour 20 minutes (may take up to 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on your pan and oven), rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick or paring knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs, no batter. The toothpick or knife will not come out completely clean. The top should also be golden brown and cracking.
- Allow to cool 30 minutes in the pan before loosening the sides of the cake and inverting onto a cake plate to cool completely.
- To make the Whiskey Glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the sugar and whiskey. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Spoon over entire cake, or over individual servings.