I've received my share of thoughtful gifts in my life. But when someone gives me a beautiful bundt cake pan (and I'm talking beautiful here, truly. I would be displaying it if there were a single available inch of display surface in this little apartment.) and a tried and true recipe for putting it to use, well, that just about tops everything. My Aunt Karen did just that when she found out I was engaged, all the way back last October. And I would have put this pan to use much, much earlier, except that there are only two of us living here. Two people with little will power means an entire bunt cake would have been consumed in one day. And half a bundt cake is too much, even for me. So when we finally convinced some friends to come over for dinner (you wouldn't think it would be so hard, but I have a feeling most people think we're extending empty niceties when we invite them, instead of honest to goodness invitations) this was always going to be dessert.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Have you ever had a wine cake? This was my first time, and I have to say Aunt Karen sure knows how to kick it up a notch. Although I've never sampled one, I've seen other wine cakes that get their names from the 1/2 cup or so of wine in their batter. This one, however, also sports a glaze made from wine, sugar and butter not only on top, but inside. When the cake is pulled from the oven, it gets a few good jabs from a wooden spoon, then half the wine glaze is poured into and around the holes. There's nothing to do but watch the cake greedily absorb its liquor, before you turn it out onto a serving plate and drizzle the rest of the glaze on top.
And this, my friends, is a lot of glaze. it puddles and pools, dripping down sides and into creases. Ragnar actually broke out the turkey baster to collect the glaze from the cake's center and redistribute it back on top (genius use of a turkey baster, by the way). And you know, it's a strange fact that this was actually the first time I've made a cake from a mix. I've made plenty of cakes from scratch, creaming butter and sugar and all of that, and I think it's still my preferred way to go. But this one does not taste like a box mix. Absolutely does not. And it was met with so many oohs and aaahs (not to mention the fact that is was decimated by 4 people in one sitting) that it will never occur to anyone to ask.
Aunt Karen's Wine Cake
1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake mix
1 3 1/2 ounce box jello instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup white win (like pinot gregio)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and beat well with an electric mixer. I beat for about 5 minutes. Pour the batter into a 10" bundt pan which has been well greased. Bake on 350F for between 45 and 50 minutes.
About 10 minutes before the cake is done, make the glaze:
1 stick butter, cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stir the butter together with the water and wine until it is all dissolved together. Add the sugar and continue stirring until it is also dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside as you take the cake out of the oven.
Remove the cake from the oven, and, using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the bottom. Pour 1/2 of the glaze over and around the holes and let the cake absorb the glaze.
Invert the cake onto a serving dish, and drizzle the rest of the glaze on top. You may need to do this in several batches. Serve and enjoy.