Woohoo! Time for another installment of #BundtBakers!
This months theme is “tropical”, which I thought would be really easy, but ended up tripping me up at first. My maple bacon bundt cake was such a hit last month that I felt like I needed to keep up that momentum and do something totally unexpected.
At first I thought I’d try to get away from the idea of “caribbean” tropical flavors like guava and mango, and go for a more Southeast Asian profile. I decided to keep pushing the sweet and savory thing and make a Thai coconut curry bundt cake with a spicy thai chili & lime glaze. I made the cake with coconut milk, lime and fresh ginger, and I really wanted that coconut curry spice to be present so I added a tablespoon of Thai green curry paste. The cake was baked, cooled, glazed, photographed, sliced…
(I bet you already guessed though, since I’m sharing a different recipe.)
The thing about curry paste is that along with the chili, lime, lemongrass and galangal, there’s also a healthy dose of garlic and shallots. Not exactly what you want in a cake, even if you are trying to push the limits of sweet and savory. I didn’t hate it, but Russell said it was absolutely disgusting and spit it out in dramatic fashion into the kitchen sink. He also poo-pooed last month’s maple bacon cake though, and everyone else loved it, so I brought it in to work for a second opinion.
NOPE. Not this time.
I came home with almost as much cake as I left with. Everyone was polite about it, but didn’t go in for more than a few bites. I actually think certain elements of the cake were great, especially the chili lime glaze, but the garlic and shallots in the curry paste just tasted… wrong. I thought about trying again without the curry paste, and eventually I might, but for now my heart isn’t in it anymore.
A few days later I came across some dried hibiscus flowers in bulk at my local grocery store and I was reminded of a hibiscus tea I used to drink as a teenager. It was naturally sweet, tart and citrusy, with a definite tropical flavor. When I opened the bin to scoop it out, the smell was overwhelming. Oddly enough, hibiscus smells much more fruity than floral. It’s sticky sweet, tangy, & pungent, reminiscent of overripe cherries and citrus fruit. I may or may not have stuck my head into the bin to take a big whiff. I also may or may not have caught the cashier taking a big sniff of the bag while I was digging for my wallet. If you can’t find hibiscus flowers (sometimes called flor de Jamaica), they can easily be found online.
I decided to steep the flowers in buttermilk and lime juice (rather than water) to concentrate the flavors. The hibiscus tea I used to drink was a brilliant pinky-red so I hoped that the cake might come out a similar color. After steeping, I squeezed the beet red liquid out of the flowers, but when I mixed it into the batter it turned the cake a gorgeous deep dark purple. I swear that there is not a single drop of food coloring in this cake.
When baked, the interior retained that purple color but the outside of the cake faded and browned. At first I was disappointed but then I realized it would make for an even more dramatic presentation when sliced. Just imagine bringing this unassuming, seemingly normal looking bundt cake to a party and slicing in to reveal the beautiful brilliant purple interior. Talk about wow factor!
Even though this was another experimental recipe, I was confident from tasting the batter that no one would turn their nose up at this one.
On a beautiful sunny Sunday we took the East River Ferry to Dumbo, vintage cake carrier in hand, and met some friends for a picnic at Brooklyn Bridge Park. When we showed up with a shiny aluminum cake carrier our friends knew they were in for something good, but when I cut in and people saw the purple-y mauve interior there were a few actual gasps, “OH MY GOD”s, and “SHUT UP!”s.
And guess what.
Everyone cleaned their plates! A few even went back in for seconds. This cake is crazy good. Perfectly moist, just sweet enough, and not too heavy. The lime flavor is a perfect compliment to the tangy tropical flavor of the hibiscus. The first bite is bright, citrusy, and tart, but with the second bite an interesting depth begins to unfold. The hibiscus gives this cake a subtle fruitiness similar to that of red berries or dark cherries. It’s almost difficult to describe such an exotic and unexpected flavor, but Russell says that the cake tastes just like it’s color; bright, fruity, & tropical.
Hibiscus Lime Bundt Cake
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 cups dried hibiscus flowers (3 oz by weight)
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and flour a 10+ cup pan and refrigerate.
Zest and juice limes (you want about 6 tablespoons of juice). Whisk zest and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside. Combine lime juice and buttermilk in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Stir in hibiscus flowers, bring back to a simmer, and remove from heat. Press the hibiscus flowers down so they’re mostly covered in liquid, and steep for 15 or 20 minutes. (They’ll swell and appear to absorb the liquid) Once they’ve steeped, use a fine mesh strainer and a spoon to press the liquid out of the hibiscus flowers into a measuring cup. Measure 1 cup of liquid total. If you’re a little short you can supplement with more buttermilk.
Add butter to lime zest and sugar and cream on high with a paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Mixing at medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into pan, smooth top, and bake for 55 minutes to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack for 15 or 20 minutes before turning out onto the rack to cool completely.
Make the glaze:
Zest and juice limes (you want about 4 tablespoons of juice) Combine with confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cooled cake, and allow glaze to drizzle down the sides.
Thank you so much to our host, Lauren of From Gate to Plate, for organizing and hosting this month’s event! Please scroll down and check out all the other amazingly delicious sounding tropical bundts! You’ll definitely be glad that you did!
This month we have so many amazing tropical Bundts that have me anxious for summer! Be sure to check them all out.
- Guava and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake by Love and Confections
- Guava and Pineapple Impossible Cake by Passion Kneaded
- Pineapple Macadamia Nut Bundt Cake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Passion-Orange-Guava Bundt Cake by All That’s Left are the Crumbs
- Mini Spiced Caramelized Pineapple Bundt Cakes by From Gate to Plate
- Hibiscus Lime Bundt Cake by Brooklyn Homemaker
- Mango Brown Sugar Glazed Bundt by Noshing with the Nolands
- Pineapple Pound Cake by Magnolia Days
- Mango Ginger Bundt Cake by Food Lust People Love
- Almost Pina Colada Bundt Cake by Tea and Scones
- Mexican Mango Cake by My Catholic Kitchen
- Mango Coconut Bundt by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Mini Pineapple Lime Mojito Bundt Cakes by Blahnik Baker
- Tropical Pineapple Bundt Cake by Bizzy Bakes
Interested in learning more about us?? #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page here.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are just a lover of Bundt baking, you can find all of our recipe links by clicking our badge above or on our group Pinterest board.