Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.



Bundt Cake Saturday!

Morning: classic August fog
Mood: content
Music: an old mix CD feat. Joni, Moe, Tony, Louis, Aimee, Ella, etc.

My sweet friends A.J. and Marissa rolled in last Friday night bearing gifts in the form of an enormous Nordstrom bag overflowing with tissue paper. Inside was the fetching little beehive bundt pan you might've seen here before, accompanied by a delicious Vanilla Bean bundt recipe. Made my night!

So we've been looking forward all week to the deflowering of the beehive bundt. And folks, this morning it's happening. So hold on to your horses and get ready for some serious honeybee action.

This recipe involved more experimentation on my part than in the past, so as the cake bakes in the oven for the next 40 minutes or so, I'm crossing my fingers that all of my little test tubes and beakers will not have overwhelmed the cake itself. Marissa's Sweet Vanilla Bean cake mix formed the base of my recipe, but you could easily substitute anything comparable and adjust your recipe accordingly.

HONEY-VANILLA BEEHIVE BUNDT CAKE

1 Bundt Vanilla Bean cake mix
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk (ew!)
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. lemon extract
Squizzle of honey

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour your cute beehive bundt pan, making sure you get the little honeybees greased and floured, too. Mix cake mix, softened butter, eggs, and milk in large bowl, folding in the vanilla and the lemon and finishing with a long hard squeeze of that honey bear until you get just enough honey in there. Beat for a few minutes or until you start sweating and your sore baseball-throwing arm hurts like a mo-fo. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean (mine needed 60+ min.). Cool 15 minutes in pan. Invert onto cooling rack and cool completely.

Now the fun begins. I decided to make a light honey glaze to brush over the cake while it cools. This will emphasize the honey flavor a little more in case I didn't add enough.  You can never have enough honey.

My Honey-Vanilla Glaze recipe looks like this:

2/3 c. honey
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. butter
1 t. vanilla extract

Boil honey, sugar and butter; add vanilla and remove from heat. Brush over cake halves while they cool on wire rack.

Once the cake has cooled, stand one half of the cake upright; using a serrated knife, level off the flat side by trimming off the rounded dome; repeat with the other side. Spread buttercream frosting over the cut side of cake; gently press the cake halves together to secure them. I mixed in a 1/2 t. of vanilla extract to give my buttercream a little extra punch.

Place cake on serving plate. Then, whip up ANOTHER icing, this time a honey icing for the top of the cake itself. It looks like this:

1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 T honey
1-3 T milk

In a medium bowl, combine all honey icing ingredients; blend well, adding milk until icing is consistency of very thick cream. Spoon honey icing over cake, covering side seams.

Whew! And we're still not done yet. Now comes the fun part. Williams-Sonoma makes cute little candy honeybees, but my exhaustive search of two local Wms-Son stores left me empty-handed. Apparently they don't carry the honeybees anymore. So I decided to get creative and see what I could do to approximate edible honeybees instead of turning into a mess and a half by squeezing bad black frosting into a piping bag.

Enter sliced almonds and chocolate covered almonds! Or black jelly beans! Or Junior Mints! Or brown peanut M&Ms! Take your pick: anything little and dark that might sort of resemble an abstract honeybee would probably work. Add a dollop of frosting for adhesion, stick the Junior Mint on, and add two little almond slivers for wings. And then hold your breath that they'll stay on until you get the cake to your destination.

Finally, and last but not least: you know I can't resist the flowers, and we've got a long vase of yellow Gerber daisies in the living room right now. So I cut one off and stuck it on the top for decoration. You could do a million things with yellow and white for this cake, but I like the simplicity and vibrance of the yellow Gerber to complement the whole honeybee vibe.

And now Joni's singing "A Case of You" (I could drink a case of you, and still be on my feet) and the vanilla bean scent is filling the room. Bzzz!

Recipe courtesy Nordicware and Martha Stewart

(And I have to officially dedicate this cake to my favorite little honeybee, Bambino Durbano, whose party manana I am so sad to be missing.  Damn 3,000 miles!  Toni, Jim, and Bambino: I'll be thinking of you.)

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