Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cake with Citrus Glaze

Remember that scene in Erin Brockovich where she and her boss are visiting the family victimized by the evil corporation and Marg Helgenburger's character excitedly tells them she made a bundt cake? And then after they've visited and her boss is ready to walk out the door, Julia Roberts grabs him by the arm and says, 'Have some bundt cake, Ed."

Well it's funny how life catches up with you. I am now the frequent maker of bundt cakes. Every time I make one, I want to call up my friends and shout 'The bundt cake's ready! Come on over!" The only problem is, I live in New York, and my friends would likely suggest meeting for Bloody Mary's down the street instead (after wondering if I've hit up the medicine cabinet.) New Yorkers don't get bundt cake.

But I don't care. They're still my favorite thing to bake - all contained in their round, yet subtly elegant little pan. No icing and assembling like a layer cake. No piping fancy ganache over the top in frilly shapes. Bundt cakes don't need any of that. Bundt cakes are bad ass. Sure, they'll benefit from a rum or vanilla (or citrus in this case) glaze if you feel up to it, but this is optional. You can do nothing to a bundt cake but pull it out of the oven and you'll still get that jolt of accomplishment just by looking at it. (Whoever thought of creating those little rounded edges was a genius - there's something subliminal in them that shouts "I'm special! The person who baked me spent all day!")

I created this bundt cake today with my beloved leftover egg nog from the holidays. If I'm honest, I had intended for this to be an egg nog bundt cake, but it came out tasting more like a deliciously soft, oversized Snickerdoodle, so voile! That's what I'm calling it. I think the citrus glaze really sets this cake apart for me (after I just told you it was optional, ha!) but don't fret. My cat could literally make this glaze if I could find a humane way of taping a wooden spoon to her paw.

I imagine if you don't have egg nog, you could substitute half and half for the nog along with a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and maybe add another egg to make up for the richness along with an additional 2 tablespoons of sugar as egg nog is sweetened. But don't hold me to that. It might come out tasting like poo, and as you can tell I'm campaigning hard to bring bundt cakes back in style...

One more thing - you can sub chopped pecans or walnuts or even dried cranberries or other fruit for the chocolate, or skip the addition altogether. I am married to a severe chocolate addict and unfortunately I believe it's worn off on me over the years. Help!!

Snickerdoodle Cake with Citrus Glaze

3 tablespoons finely minced candied ginger
2 tablespoons Contreau (or other orange liquor)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temp
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (I usually add a tiny extra pinch as well...)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup eggnog
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325.

Put the finely minced candied ginger in a coffee cup or small bowl and pour over the Contreau. Let sit while you get on with preparing the cake. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.

Separately, add the butter to your stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Blend until light and fluffy - about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and blend until thoroughly incorporated, stopping to scrape down sides once or twice. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the ginger and liquor and blend again. At this point, you want to add the flour mixture (dry ingredients), in several batches, alternating with egg nog (and extract), but beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down sides of bowl again to make sure everything is honest, then use your spatula to add the chocolate chips into the batter by hand.

Pour into a Pam-sprayed, lightly floured bundt cake pan that's been placed on a large baking sheet (in case of spillover.) Bake at 325 for 50-55 minutes, until lightly golden all over the top and the sides have just begun to pull away from the pan. When the cake is almost done, prepare the optional orange glaze (ingredients below) by placing the orange juice, sugar, and butter in a small sauce pan. Bring over medium/low heat - you don't want it to boil so lower temp if necessary - stirring for 3 minutes, just until sugar melts. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside.

Orange Glaze (Actually not optional for this cake, IMO):
1/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
dash vanilla extract

dark or semi sweet chocolate bar, for shaving

Remove cake from oven and let sit 10 minutes before carefully inverting onto cake stand, carefully pouring warm glaze over and all around. Garnish with shaved chocolate over the top, if desired.

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