Another day, another bundt. That’s what I always say.
Who am I kidding? I’ve never actually said that.
It does sometimes feel that way though, and this will be the 20th bundt cake I’ve baked and photographed and eaten since I started Brooklyn Homemaker.
Having joined a bundt baking blogging group has certainly kept my oven warm and my belly full!
Over the months (or is it years already?), I’ve done my best to keep things interesting and avoid bundt monotony. The creative themes the bundt bakers come up with have always provided me with fun and interesting challenges month after month.
Every once in a while though, you really need to do something you’ve never done before, something totally different and unique, to give yourself an inspirational kick in the pants.
This month’s theme, chosen by Lauren of Sew you Think you Can Cook, is cinnamon. Warm, sweet, homey cinnamon! Who doesn’t love cinnamon, especially during the dark and dreary days of winter? Thanks Lauren!
I’ve been looking forward to baking this month’s bundt for a while now, but when it came to decide what to actually put in the oven, I was stumped! The problem was that every idea I came up with just didn’t feel very exciting to me. I was certain that they’d all be totally delicious, but I couldn’t think of anything I haven’t seen before. There’s something to be said for simplicity and tradition, and there’s nothing better than a buttermilk spice cake in my book, but I really wanted to do something original this month.
After much hemming and hawing I decided to consult one of the new (old) cookbooks Russell gave me for Christmas. With my fingers crossed I reached for the United Sates Regional Cook Book by Edith Berolzheimer and hoped a recipe from 1939 would catch my eye. The contents are broken up into 11 culinary regions of the US, ranging from New England to Creole cooking, and there’s even a special chapter on “Cosmopolitan American” cooking.
One thing that really struck me was that there are three separate chapters on culinary regions labeled “Dutch”. I’d heard of the Pennsylvania Dutch before, but the other two groups were unfamiliar to me. Another odd thing was that one of the regions, the Michigan Dutch, featured recipes from Holland, while the other two chapters featured German recipes.
Did you know that the name “Pennsylvania Dutch” actually has nothing to do with Holland or the Netherlands? In the U.S., these groups are called “Dutch” because their American neighbors misunderstood “Deutschland”, the German name for Germany, and mistakenly thought the people settling these regions were Dutch rather than German. The name stuck and they’ve been called the Pennsylvania Dutch ever since. I was aware that there was a large German population in Wisconsin too, but I had no idea that they were also called the “Wisconsin Dutch” in the same way as the group in Pennsylvania.
After flipping through the book I also noticed that each of the German “Dutch” section had their own separate recipes for “Schnecken”. If you’re not familiar, schnecken is basically a German version of a sticky bun or cinnamon roll. The word schnecken means “snail” in German, and the pastry’s name is inspired by the swirled pattern of a snail’s shell.
The strange thing to me was how different each recipe was from one another. The Pennsylvania Dutch version seemed pretty straight forward and similar to other cinnamon roll recipes, but the Wisconsin Dutch version was made with a much richer dough and was baked in a loaf pan rather than a traditional round or rectangular cake pan. The Wisconsin recipe also had nuts, brown sugar, and butter added to the bottom of the pan, so that when the schnecken is turned out you’d have a pull-apart loaf topped with it’s own drippy buttery sauce.
I’ve never seen cinnamon rolls baked this way but it seems rather similar to monkey bread in my mind. I figured that if this recipe could be baked in a loaf, why couldn’t it be baked in a bundt pan? A round loaf of pull-apart cinnamon rolls, dripping with their own buttery brown sugar sauce. What could be better than that?
The Wisconsin version didn’t actually call for cinnamon, but the Pennsylvania recipe did so I just went for it. I also swapped walnuts for the pecans and almonds called for in the original recipe. I’ve been on a bit of a walnut kick lately and I absolutely love their bitter earthiness when paired with rich sweet recipes like this one.
The resulting cake is super fun to eat as you just pull each roll off as you go, no knife required. It’s rich and buttery and dripping with with butter and brown sugar. The cinnamon adds a lovely homey warmth and the walnuts provide an earthy bitterness that compliments perfectly with the sweetness of the sauce and richness of the pastry. I brought the cake to work with me for a staff meeting and it was absolutely devoured! This cake should probably keep for a few days, but to be honest I wouldn’t know! It’s definitely best eaten warm.
In the name of full disclosure, this recipe is over 75 years old and there are a few things I would do a little differently if I had it to do over again. Other than the addition of cinnamon and substitution of walnuts, I wanted to follow the original recipe to a T. While it was absolutely delicious, I actually found it to be too rich and heavy. (Who knew that was even possible?)
This is a yeast raised recipe, but to my surprise it didn’t call for any water or even milk, only heavy cream, egg yolks, and lots of butter. Lots and lots of butter. The resulting dough is extremely rich, and when eaten cold it had a slight greasiness. I also think that it’d be better baked at a slightly lower temperature as it seemed slightly overcooked, with an almost fried feeling, on the outermost edges.
In the recipe below I’ve changed it from cream to milk and lowered the temperature from 375 to 350. This still will make an undoubtably rich and decadent cake and I’m fully confident that you won’t miss all that heavy cream. I did make notes if you want to make this in it’s original 1939 form, but I’m completely rewriting the recipe instructions to make them easier to understand.
Walnut Schnecken Bundt Cake
1 packet of active dry yeast *see note
1 cup lukewarm milk **see note
1 cup butter, softened
5 egg yolks
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional, not called for originally)
1 cup walnuts, chopped (original recipe called for almonds)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup walnuts (original recipe called for pecans)
1 cup packed brown sugar
Whisk yeast into lukewarm (not hot) milk. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the softened butter and egg yolks until well combined. Mix in milk, salt, and flour. Switch to a dough hook and mix until the dough comes together and leaves the sides of the bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for an hour to an hour and a half, or until doubled in size. You can also cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out into a rectangle. Mine was about 18″x12″, but the original recipe just said to roll it “thin”. Sprinkle evenly with sugar, chopped walnuts, and cinnamon. Roll up and slice into 12 to 16 even slices using a sharp serrated knife with a gentle sawing motion.
Pour melted butter into the bottom of a 10 to 12 cup bundt pan, reserving 2 tablespoons for later use. Tilt the pan to coat the sides in melted butter, but let most of it remain in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle nuts in an even layer, and top with brown sugar in another even layer. Arrange rolls, at a slight angle, evenly around the pan atop the nuts and sugar. Brush with remaining butter. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for an hour to an hour and a half, or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350.
Bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn out onto a serving plate or cake stand immediately. Do not leave in the pan or the sauce will stick. Serve warm.
*note: The original recipe called for cake yeast, but I couldn’t find it. Dry yeast worked out just fine.
**note: The original recipe called for heavy cream, but I found that it made the recipe too heavy and rich, with a greasy feeling. Milk will lighten it up a bit but the butter and egg yolks will ensure it’s still plenty rich.
And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:
- Apple Cinnamon Bundt by Tammy at Living the Gourmet
- Carrot Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Glaze by Kelly at Passion Kneaded
- Cinnamon Apple Bundt Cake by Christiane at Taking on Magazines
- Cinnamon Apple Jelly Donut Cake by Colleen at Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Cinnamon Bundt Cake by Kathya at Basic N Delicious
- Cinnamon Bundt Coffee Cake by Lauren at From Gate to Plate
- Cinnamon Chocolate and Strawberry Cake by Deepti at Baking Yummies
- Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake by Renee at Magnolia Days
- Cinnamon Crown Cake by Stacy at Food Lust People Love
- Cinnamon Dolce Coffee Bundt Cake by Felice at All That’s Left are the Crumbs
- Cinnamon Espresso Bundt with Chocolate Ganache by Amanda at The Cinnamon Scrolls
- Cinnamon Pecan Streusel Bundt Cake by Lara at Tartacadabra
- Cinnamon Roll Bundt by Margaret at Tea and Scones
- Cinnamon Swirl Bundt by Sue at Palatable Pastime
- Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bundt Cake by Bea and Mara at I Love Bundt Cakes
- Cinnamon Toast Bundt by Jane at Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Cinnamon Toast Bundts by Olivia at Liv for Cake
- Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake by Mondo at I Bake He Shoots
- Monkey Bread Bundt by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Pumpkin Spice Toffee Bundt Cake by June at How to Philosophize with Cake
- Red Tea and Cinnamon Bundt Cake by Mary at Los Chatos Chefs
- Six Pound Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake by Rebekah at Making Miracles
- Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake by Teri at The Freshman Cook
- Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls Bundt by Priya at I Camp in My Kitchen
- Sweet Cinnamon Spice Tea Bundtlettes by Lauren at Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Tea Chai Bundt Cake by Rocio at kidsandchic
- Tunnel of Cinnamon Bundt Cake by Laura at Baking in Pyjamas
- Walnut Schnecken Bundt Cake by Tux at Brooklyn Homemaker
#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 or ingredient. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.