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




Bundt Cake Saturday!

Morning: summery (!)
Mood: thoughtful
Music: silence...

It's been a bit of a wild week here.  I'm working toward a huge writing deadline (that actually came and went a day or two ago), and playing catch-up has meant living in front of my laptop when I am not stretching into Trikonasana or shaking martinis.  No time for any other reading or writing that doesn't involve some combination of the words "late-capitalism," "soteriology," "shunyata," and "erotic celibacy."  Um, yeah.  Erghh.

So the bundt distraction this morning has been a welcome respite.  I'll return the nose to the grindstone as soon as the cake cools, but for the time being, baking has been a refreshing change.  

Bundt Cake Bliss tells me that Nordic Ware at some point decreed that today, November 15th - of all days, even a Saturday this year! - is National Bundt Day.  Yeah.  Do with that what you will.  Make sure to mark your calendars for this very important annual holiday.  Start shopping for the bundt pans you're going to give me in observance next year.  In the meantime, we'll celebrate with a rather unusual recipe, one I've crafted a bit on my own with the help of a recipe I found online.  It's been four months already that we've been rolling with this little bundt experiment, and nearly 20 cakes in, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this.

So let's pull out the spice rack and bake a 

CARDAMOM SPICE BUNDT WITH DRIED CHERRIES AND PISTACHIOS

Mmm, some of my favorite things.  The cherries and pistachios in this recipe made it an automatic winner, and considering that I've got a $16 bottle of cardamom sitting in my spice cabinet waiting to be loved, I figured I'd take advantage of the opportunity to learn a little more about this native Indian spice.  I found a recipe and tweaked it a bit for the sake of convenience, since time is of the essence this week.  

INGREDIENTS

1 box yellow cake mix
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
1/2 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 c sour cream
1 teas cardamom
1/4 teas cinnamon
1 1/2 teas vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup dried cherries
Confectioner's sugar for serving

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour bundt pan, making sure to tap out excess flour.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding, oil, eggs, sour cream, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla.  Blend well for several minutes at a medium speed.  Stir the cherries and pistachios into the batter in the bowl, then spoon into the cake pan. Smooth the top of the cake with a spatula if necessary.  Place the cake in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, remove from pan, and continue to cool.

Not super difficult, but a sweet-smelling batter (nice and thick, too), some interesting spices, and a nice balance of fruit and nut.  The cake's got about 10 minutes left in the oven yet, and the cardamom scent is swirling nicely, so I think things will turn out just fine.  

No icing on this one; I think it's almost more appropriate as a simple breakfast coffee cake, so we'll hold off on the thick frosting this week.  I may just drizzle it with confectioner's sugar and a few dried cherries and pistachios to seal the deal.

That's about it, really.  Enjoy the flavors, and read up a little on cardamom - supposedly great for digestion, colds, coffee and chai flavoring, and even as an aphrodisiac.  Sweet.

Recipe courtesy (in part) about.com

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