Raw, idiom: 14a. in the natural, uncultivated, or unrefined state: nature in the raw.



Bundt Cake Saturday!

Morning: toasty
Mood: brown sugary
Music: Debussy

And the onslaught of fall flavors begins!

I'm so excited to delve into all the seasonal flavors that are coming into play right now: cinnamon and cloves and spice cakes and carrot cakes and on and on and on.  So for the last several weeks I've been flirting with maple recipes, really hankering to get down with some old-style maple syrup and dive into the scents and swoons of autumn flavors.  

And it just so turns out that earlier this week was Canada's own "Maple Leaf Day: National Tree Planting Day."  Bingo.  And I am not only a fan of trees, I'm also a fan of maple flavors, even when they come out of a small tincture bottle labeled "extract" or when they come in powdered form mixed with brown sugar and dry oatmeal in a small paper bag a la the kind B and I used to eat every morning for breakfast circa 1984.  Oh, the memories.  

Right now the cake's been in the oven for a good half an hour, and my house is swelling with maple scent, and it's about all I can do to control the wild sensory memory synapses firing all over the place.  It truly smells just like I'm sitting at the kitchen table in semi-rural South Dakota, a chilly wind is blowing across the prairie, the grass is browning after a long summer and B and I are sleepily shoveling oatmeal into our faces looking out the window behind the kitchen table.  Except that now I've got 20-some more years on me and a few grey hairs and the shriveled Republican dude running for office goes by the name of McCain instead of Reagan.  Otherwise, pretty much the same.

Things have been crazy-busy here in the Rach household with a lot of big writing deadlines looming; I am living pretty much like a monk, tied to my computer cranking out pages whenever not at the yoga studio or at work.  So this morning's recipe, if it was going to happen, necessitated simplicity.  No chopping rhubarb today.  So please overlook the ease, and appreciate it for being a surprisingly rich and brown-sugar-tinged cake; I'm already pleasantly surprised by the many sensual returns its given for a damn easy five-minute preparation.

Enough rambling.  Let's make a 

MAPLE PECAN BUNDT CAKE

I decided to use my spiral Heritage pan again, because it's so beee-au-tiful, so made sure to flour and grease it well; it likes to stick.  The recipe originally included walnuts, but I shifted to pecans, as I've got a big bag in my pantry that's been crying out for some love.

INGREDIENTS

1 package yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1-1/3 cups water
1-1/2 tsp. maple flavoring
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour your fabulous spiral bundt pan, then set aside.  Mix all ingredients, except nuts, in a large bowl until well blended; add nuts and mix well. Pour batter into bundt pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until cake tester inserted into middle of the cake comes out clean.

I had planned to make a maple buttercream frosting, but the cake came so nicely out of the spiral pan that I changed plans; didn't want to cover up that simple beauty.  So instead I whipped up a little maple glaze that wouldn't overwhelm the cake itself.

Your maple glaze looks like this: 

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. maple flavoring
2 tbl. margarine or butter
4-5 tbl. buttermilk (because I had it on hand)

Blend until glaze consistency.  Spoon onto warm cake.

While the cake was cooling, I toasted a few pecans to sprinkle on top.  People Who Know have told me that toasting is imperative if you're going to top a cake with nuts; it brings out their natural flavors and increases the richness of the, uh, "experience."  Throw said nuts onto a baking sheet, slide them in the 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes, and you'll be all set.

Chop the pecans, and sprinkle them over the cooling glaze.  Simple, lovely, classic, vintage.  And the kitchen still smells like breakfast, 1984.

With each bundt Saturday that passes, I'm realizing that this whole thing is much less about making something that tastes good than it is about making something beautiful.  It's pretty much all aesthetics, all the time here.  Because I'm just a superficial bitch who likes pretty shit.

So.

Eat, and enjoy, and then go plant a tree before the sugar crash hits.

Recipe courtesy divinerecipes.com

Comments

Jess(ica) said…
Love, love, LOVE that bundt pan.

Mui love.

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