I love all cake and especially bundt pans. Representatives ones, abstract or pattern-based ones, traditional ones. Having said that, I want to make something clear about certain kinds of (usually representative) bundt pans: I only use them for effect, in particularly appropriate situations. Because otherwise, speaking truthfully, a traditional bundt such as this one or a more abstract bundt, such as this one, make much prettier slices and they also prevent random corners–like the spires in the cake above–from drying out before the rest of the cake.
Having said all that, there are just some circumstances that call out for a castle bundt cake or, as in this case, a fairytale cottage bundt cake. One such example I learned about earlier this year at Alex’s school is cake walks. Nothing makes people want to win a cake like it being some crazy exotic shape–especially if the person playing/choosing is a little girl. Another such example is when you are hosting book club–and you are reading a fantasy complete with magical schools and imaginary lands. Then it just seems like the situations cries out for a fairytale cottage cake–and if it can be flavored with a whimsical flavor combination like vanilla and pink peppercorn (which is also delightfully adult, which is nice after baking so many desserts for child-based affairs) then all the better.
What is even better is when you take that first bite and you know you served a winner.
This is another fantastic cake from Christie Matheson’s Cake Simple: Recipes for Bundt-Style Cakes from Classic Dark Chocolate to Luscious Lemon-Basil. If you like cake at all you should immediately purchase this book. The flavor combinations are modern but still delightful and the traditional flavors are also winners. I have never made any cake that was less than stellar from this book, and I have made a lot of them.
- 1 cup (230 g, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups (360 g) AP flour
- 1 t baking powder
- ½ t baking soda
- ½ t salt
- 2 t freshly ground pink peppercorns
- ¼ t freshly ground white peppercorns
- 1¾ cups (350 g) sugar
- seeds from 3 vanilla beans
- 4 eggs
- 1½ t vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk (I used full fat)
- 1½ cups (140 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 t vanilla
- ¼ t freshly ground pink peppercorns
- pinch of salt
- 3-4 T water
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the rack in the lower third of the oven. Spray the inside of a 10 cup bundt pan generously with Baker's Joy or some other grease/flour combo. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground pink and white peppercorns. Set aside.
- Cream the butter using a stand or handheld mixer for about 1 minute, until broken down, and then add the seeds from the scraped out 3 vanilla beans along with the sugar. Cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat each in. Then add the vanilla and beat it in. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mix and buttermilk, in 3 and 2 additions respectively, alternating. Finish mixing by hand, making sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs attached or dry, and the sides of the cake have started to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then invert onto parchment paper on a cooling rack (the parchment paper prevents the weight of the cake causing it to sink into the cooling rack holes). Let cool completely before glazing.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze by whisking (or beating with handheld beaters) the ingredients together--add water to the desired consistency. Despite glazing the cake while it was cool, my glaze was still pretty transparent--perhaps I added too much water. In the end it did not matter as it was delicious.