cake

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes

When I was a kid, Halloween was my absolute favorite holiday.

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

I mean, I’ve always loved Thanksgiving too, for the food of course, but as a young kid Halloween was the freakin’ best. Turkey and pumpkin pie are great and all but costumes and candy, and running around at night like a little lunatic with fake vampire teeth? Grandma’s cornbread dressing couldn’t hold a candle…

I’ve had countless costumes over the years, but I’ll never forget an especially uncomfortable year dressed as Frankenstein with tons of sticky green makeup and itchy stick-on eyebrows and neck bolts. After that, the simpler and more elegant Dracula was definitely my go to.
Each year I’d get a new costume complete with fangs, cape, and gold medallion, and as a young gay boy I already had all the crisp white button downs and black dress pants that were required but not included with the costume.  (No jeans and T-shirt for this little sissy boy!)
I think it really was the dressed up, fancy man aspect of Dracula that appealed to me most year after year, and it wasn’t until I found my grandma’s old wig in her bathroom closet that the appeal started to wear off…

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

These days I usually spend most of the month of October thinking up all sorts of witty, hysterical costumes that I could wear, but never do. The last time I dressed up was for work, about 4 years ago. I’d just started working at Whisk slinging fancy kitchen gear, and we all came up with this hilarious plan to come to work dressed as a Food Network star.
Group costumes are the best! What could go wrong?!?!

A few days later I show up to work in full Ina Garten regalia, and oops! Everyone either forgot or didn’t have time to get their costumes together.  One person, who usually works from home, loved the idea and actually did come in for an hour or two dressed as Alton Brown (essentially dressed as an older, nerdier version of himself) to take pictures, but everyone else either didn’t dress up or threw something else together at the last minute.
As I stood there working my full shift in an oversized navy blouse, huge clip on pearl earrings, lipstick, and an itchy bob wig; I vowed never again to be duped by allure of an amazing group costume idea.

I haven’t dressed up since.
Womp Womp.

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

Even though I’m too old for trick-or-treating and haven’t put on a costume in years, I really do still have a special place in my heart for Halloween.

I like to imagine that some day in the future I’ll be the type of adult who’s famous among his circle of friends for hosting amazing costume parties that are talked about for years to come. Basically I dream of one day throwing Halloween parties just like the ones on Roseanne, complete with decorations so elaborate and costumes so perfectly spot-on that everyone I know will try, and fail, to one-up me year after year.
By the way, am I the only one who’s ever wondered how the lower middle class Connor family, who always seemed to have trouble paying their bills on time, came up with all the money for their costumes and decorations?
I guess it doesn’t matter, but, like, that stuff ain’t cheap!

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

With all my dreams of Halloween entertaining one-upmanship, the minute I saw this adorable haunted skull cakelet pan, I knew that I HAD to have it.

You all know I love Nordic Ware. I’ve told you more than once twice three times (a lady), but after finally having a chance to use this pan you’ll have to excuse me as I wax poetic once again.

Nordic Ware has been making exceptional cookware and bakeware right here in the US for 70 years now, and even after all this time they’re still a family owned company. The bundt pan is by far their most famous and most popular product, but they also specialize in all sorts of elaborate and festively shaped baking pans. No one can compare to their quality and selection, and ALL of their pans are sturdy, heavy duty, ultra-non-stick, and unbelievably durable.
I should know! I put their pans through the ringer!

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

There is so much detail in these little skulls that I was worried it wouldn’t read once the cakes were baked, or that I’d have problems getting the cakes out cleanly from all the intricate details face and teeth. At this point I should have known that I had no need to worry. These little cakes released like a dream and all that detail came across with amazing definition in the finished cakes.

There’s actually so much detail in these little cakes, that even though I tried decorating them in several ways, I found that my favorite cakes were the simplest, with just a double coat of thin sugary glaze. Of course you can decorate them however you choose, but I really think the simpler, the better. In fact, as much as I love the creepy look of the bright red chocolate candy eyes, I worry that even they take away from the scary perfection of the little cakes as they were straight out of the pan.

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

The recipe below, simply adapted from my favorite chocolate bundt cake recipe, makes 12 mini skulls, or 2 pans worth. If you only have 1 pan, make sure you wash the pan really well between batches. I also recommend that you dry it well and throw it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before reapplying the butter and cocoa. Otherwise the pan will be warm from being washed and the butter will melt and make a mess when you try to dust it with cocoa.
If you don’t have this pan at all, you can get it here, or you can just make this recipe in one 10 cup bundt pan. It won’t be as scary to look at, but it’ll certainly taste just as chocolatey and delicious!

By the way, if you’ve never tried this trick before, using cocoa powder works just as well as flour to prevent the cakes from sticking to the pan, but helps the cakes look extra dark and chocolatey, rather than the dusty uneven look flour sometimes gives to the outside of chocolate cakes.

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

The flavor of these little cakes is deep dark chocolate perfect with a super tender and moist crumb. Thanks to that simple powdered sugar glaze, these little cakes almost taste like a reeeeeally good moist chocolate doughnut.

The Oreos, complete with cream (don’t use boxed crumbs!), add a really nice touch, especially if you leave some in nice big chunks so they don’t melt and disappear into the batter. Essentially you just want to put them in a plastic bag and crush ’em up with your hands or whack at them with a rolling-pin until there are no whole cookies left, but you still have lots of bigger pieces.

Now tell me, what kid (or adult) could resist a super moist chocolate cake filled with oreo cookie crumbs? Especially one in the shape of a cute-yet-terrifying little skull???

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

Dark Chocolate & Oreo Mini Skull Cakes

adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups strong hot coffee
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (I used “Double Dutch Cocoa“) plus extra for pan
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup peanut oil or any neutral vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (about 1 package) roughly crushed oreos (NOT oreo cookie crumbs, you want the cream too)

For the Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For decorating (all optional):
Red M&Ms
Sanding or decorating sugar (black, red, or silver)
white mini nonpareils
More crushed Oreos

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Brush a skull cakelet pan (* see note) with softened butter, and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.

Whisk coffee and cocoa together in a bowl together until free of lumps and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low for just one minute. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.
Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes more. Add the cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Finally, stir in the roughly crushed Oreos just until evenly distributed throughout. The batter will seem quite loose and liquid, it’s supposed to, don’t worry.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared cake pan, filling each cavity about 3/4 of the way up. This recipe makes two pans worth of batter. If you have two pans, you can bake them both at once, or once the first batch is out of the pan you can wash, dry, and cool the pan in the fridge before reapplying butter and cocoa and baking the remaining batter.
Bake for 20-30, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.

To make the glaze:
Whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together in a medium bowl until smooth and free of lumps.

To glaze and decorate:
After some trial and error I found that the easiest way to glaze the cakelets was to pick up them up by the base and dip them into the glaze like a doughnut. Remove from the glaze, let drip dry, and turn over to dry on a cooling rack. I actually liked the look of the glaze best when the cakes were glazed twice. If you want to double glaze, wait for the first coat to dry five minutes or so before dipping again.
If you’d like to decorate with sanding sugar, crushed Oreos, or mini nonpareils, sprinkle them over the cakes before your final coat of glaze has dried. If desired, add red chocolate candies in the eye sockets.

*Note: If you don’t have a skull cakelet pan this recipe makes 1 (less spooky but equally delicious) bundt cake in a 10 cup bundt pan. A bundt will need to bake for about 55 to 65 minutes .

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nectarines and cream icebox cake

Why hello there friends! Remember me???

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Yes it’s me! Tux!

I’m back! (well, sort of.)

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Russell and I are still plugging away at the project I mentioned in my last post, and while we’re (hopefully) nearing the finish line, we’ve still got plenty of work to do so I’m not exactly back for good. I just happened to get a little down time recently and I couldn’t bare to stay away from you for one more second!

I’ve missed you guys SO MUCH that I jumped at the opportunity to get back in the kitchen when I finally had a moment to myself. We’ve been so completely consumed with our project in the past few months that my poor kitchen has felt almost as neglected as all of you probably have.

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

As it turns out though, my little bit of down time just happened to fall smack dab in the middle of our SECOND heat wave in the past couple months. For almost two weeks the daily weather forecast included “Excessive Heat Warnings”, and the city even set up “cooling stations” for the sick and elderly without air conditioning to be able to escape (and survive) the oppressive daytime temperatures.

To make matters even worse, unlike my brown-lawned family upstate, we’ve also had plenty of rain (and thunder and lightning) here in Brooklyn so along with the heat we’ve also had plenty of soupy, steamy, thick, and swampy humidity. In other words, we’ve just been sweating our butts off here in Brooklyn!

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

As you can imagine, that meant that turning the oven on to bake a cake has been sort of out of the question.

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

With actual baking off the table, my first thought was to make some kind of ice cream or frozen something-or-other to help cool us off and keep me as far as possible from the oven. It didn’t take me long to realize though, that I hadn’t thought far enough ahead and my ice cream maker bowl requires overnight freezing before I could even get started.
I briefly considered popsicles but I couldn’t seem to get inspired. What I really wanted to do was bakeor at least make something that felt as homey and satisfying as something fresh from the oven. I’d been out of the kitchen and away from my oven for so long that my head kept going back to the idea of a fruity crisp or crumble or skillet cake.

Then it suddenly hit me!

Icebox cake!

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

If you’re not familiar with an icebox cake, the concept is fairly simple. You layer thin crisp cookies with whipped cream and let the whole thing set up in the refrigerator (or icebox as it were). While the cake sets up, moisture is pulled from the whipped cream, softening the cookies and firming the cream until the whole thing is transformed into a dreamy, wonderful, lick-the-plate-clean dessert with a perfectly cake-like sliceable texture.

The original recipe has been around since the first world war and was most likely inspired by similar desserts like the Charlotte or the Trifle. The first icebox cakes were made with thin chocolate wafer cookies that are increasingly difficult to find (Smitten Kitchen has a recipe if you want to make your own), but these days you can basically make them with any thin, crisp cookies you like.
The filling options these days are just as limitless as the cookies, so I knew I’d find a way to make something bright and summery and satisfying.

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I wish I had some sepia-colored story about the nostalgic icebox cakes my grandmother used to make me as a boy growing up in the countryside in 1764, but the truth is that I’d never even tasted icebox cake until I made one with gingersnaps and maple cream this past December.

Even though I didn’t grow up with them, they feel every bit as homey and comforting as the bundt cakes that I actually did grow up eating in grandma’s kitchen in the country. While they’re relatively new to me, I would bet that a few more icebox cakes will turn up on the pages of Brooklyn Homemaker in the years to come. They just have that folksy days-of-yore feeling that lets me wistfully imagine joyful, touching family moments that never actually happened.

Not to mention they’re also freakin’ delicious, and crazy simple to put together.
If you can whip cream and open a box of cookies, you can make an icebox cake. They’re actually much simpler than I myself would normally go for, and the last time I made one I went the extra mile and made my own gingersnaps as the base of the cake. (You know I’m a glutton for punishment.)

This time around though, I wanted to take it easy, keep it simple, and highlight the other ingredients I wanted to feature in this simple summery creation.

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Russell and I signed up for a CSA from Local Roots earlier this summer, but of course that was before we knew how busy we were about to get. We’ve been loving every ounce of fresh, local, seasonal produce, but it can sometimes be a challenge to find uses for everything without letting anything go to waste.

We’ve been getting pounds and pounds of white nectarines in the past few weeks, so I really wanted to do something special with them. What could be better than giving them the peaches and cream treatment with vanilla wafer cookies and mascarpone thickened whipped cream?

Nectarines and peaches are so similar in flavor and texture that you could substitute peaches without affecting the flavor of the recipe much at all. The white nectarines we had from our CSA though had a crisper, slightly more acidic zing to them than a standard peach, which I thought was a nice compliment to the richness of the cream. Honestly though, you could swap them out for strawberries or cherries and this cake would still be a little summery slice of heaven.

nectarines and cream icebox cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Nectarines and Cream Icebox Cake

2 lbs nectarines (or peaches), peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau (optional) *see note
2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
8 oz mascarpone at room temperature
Two 11 oz packages of vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nilla Wafers

Combine roughly chopped nectarines with sugar, salt, and orange liqueur in a medium bowl. Stir to combine and macerate for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on high just until it begins to thicken and form soft peaks. Add the mascarpone and beat on low speed until almost smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and fold to incorporate. Add the macerated chopped nectarines and beat on low for 30 to 60 seconds and scrape down the sides and fold again. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the mixture is thick and holds firm peaks, another 30 to 60 seconds. Do NOT over-beat or the cream can become waxy and the mascarpone can become grainy.

On an 8″ cake board, or a cake stand or serving plate, arrange a layer of vanilla wafer cookies into three tight circles. I used 19 cookies per layer, with 1 cookie in the center, then one circle of 6 cookies and another circle of 12, but that’ll depend on the size of the cookie you use. Once you’ve arranged your first layer of cookies, place about a cup of cream over them and smooth it out with an offset icing spatula. Spread the cream almost to the outer edge, leaving just a small edge of cookies showing. Arrange another layer of cookies, trying to alternate the layers so they appear staggered above one another. Repeat another layer of cream and then another layer of cookies, again and again until you have as many layers as you desire or until you run out of cookies or cream. Finish the top of the cake with a final layer of cream. My cake was 8 layers tall, but again, this may depend on the size of the cookies you use.

If you have a cookie or two left over, garnish the cake by crumbling them in the center of the top if desired.

Try to delicately tent the cake with plastic wrap or cover with a large inverted bowl or cake dome before transferring to the refrigerator to set up.
Place cake to refrigerator for an absolute minimum of 6 hours (but ideally 12 to 24 hours) before serving. This cake will continue to improve the longer you can wait. As it sets, the cream will get firmer as the cookies get softer, and the flavors will distribute more evenly. Patience is a virtue!

Once set, the cake can be sliced and served much like a regular cake. If possible, it’s best to use a sharp serrated knife with a gentle sawing motion to avoid smooshing the cake and to get the best looking slices possible. Really though, you could dish it into bowls with a spoon if you wanted, and everyone would love it just as much.
Cake can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days.

*Note:
Peach schnapps would be great too if you have it, or you could also substitute rum or bourbon for a bit of extra warmth.
If you’d prefer to keep it completely non-alcoholic, a teaspoon or two of orange blossom water or rose water would be a lovely substitution. That stuff is potent though so start with just a little and taste to see if you’d like to add more.

drømmekage (Danish dream cake) bundt cake #bundtbakers

Are you guys as ready for summer as I am?

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Are you ready for sunny days and warm weather? Ready to feel the warmth of sunshine on your skin? Ready to walk outdoors in short sleeves and single layers of thin cotton clothing?

I’m not afraid to admit that I am. I am 100% ready. I’m also, officially, over this winter.

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Up until this point I’ve been doing just fine. Really I have!
Here in the Northeast this winter has been totally mild and easily tolerated. At least it was until last week, when shady ol’ Mother Nature decided it would might great fun to give us a little taste of what we’ve been missing.

For three glorious days, temperatures were suddenly in the mid-70s during the day, with ample sunshine, warm breezes, and the smells of spring air. Record breaking warmth for this time of year. Easily deceived by Mother Nature’s dirty tricks, I started planning barbecues and garden parties.

Our false summer was fleeting though, and disappeared behind some rain clouds as suddenly as it arrived, leaving us to close the windows again and turn the heat back up.

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Luckily, Christiane from Taking on Magazines chose “Tropical Vacation” as our theme for the bundt bakers this month. What better way to delude myself into thinking it’s warm and bright and wonderful outside when you and I both know that it isn’t?

If you’re as hungry (pun very much intended) as I am for some tropical distraction, please be absolutely certain that you scroll down past the recipe and see all the bright & tropical bundts that everyone came up with this month!

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Oddly enough, I’ve never really been a huge fan of most tropical fruits. For whatever reason, I prefer my produce from more temperate climates. Maybe it’s because my family comes from sturdy cold-weather Bavarian German stock, maybe it’s because my grandfather spoiled me with all of his fruit trees and garden fresh berries, or maybe it’s just because I’m a creature of habit and prefer what I’m familiar with. Who knows?
Either way, given a choice between an apple or a mango, a pear or a papaya, a peach or a pineapple, 9 times out of 10 I’m going to choose the option that grows right here in the Northeast, not the one grown on some faraway island under the shade of a palm tree.

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Coconut however, is the one exception to my aversion to tropical fruit. Ever since I was a child I’ve loved coconut, and I can remember countless fluffy white cakes covered in downy clouds of sweetened coconut flakes. I especially love coconut around Easter, when Grandma’s coconut cakes used to be made to look like cute fuzzy bunnies with licorice lips and whiskers, and candy coated eyeballs and noses.

It’s only fitting that I now have the chance to make a sensational coconut bundt cake with Easter only 10 days away.

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

A sensational bundt cake calls for a sensational bundt pan. Luckily Nordic Ware, the company that literally invented the bundt pan, just released a gorgeous new pan to celebrate their 70th anniversary. This elegant crown shaped pan is a gold plated show stopper and features curves in all the right places! They’re truly celebrating their anniversary in style.

Nordic Ware has been making exceptional cookware and bakeware right here in the US for 70 years now, and even after all this time they’re still a family owned company. The bundt pan is by far their most famous and most popular product, and no one makes bundt pans as well as they do. Their pans are sturdy, heavy duty, ultra-non-stick, and unbelievably durable.
I should know! I put those bundt pans through more than their fair share of abuse!
I know that I’ve said this before, but as a bundt baker and bundt lover, I can’t sing enough praises for Nordic Ware’s bundt pans.

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I really wanted to come up with something special this month, so I was on a mission to come up with a recipe that would not only fit our tropical vacation theme, but that could also honor Nordic Ware’s Scandinavian heritage. It didn’t take me long to find a recipe for a traditional Danish cake called a Drømmekage or “Dream Cake”.

If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t), drømmekage consists of a tender vanilla cake that, after baking, is covered with a caramel and coconut topping and returned to the oven to brown up and caramelize. It certainly doesn’t get much dreamier than that!

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

The only problem was that drømmekage is usually made as a single layer sheet cake, with the topping added only at the very end of the baking process. Since the top of a bundt cake is actually at the bottom of the pan while it bakes, I knew that converting this cake into a bundt might be challenging. I was a man on a mission though, and I was determined to make it work. I just kept telling myself, “I can bundt that.”

At first I just tried making the recipe as originally written but baking the topping into the bottom of the pan. Unfortunately the topping didn’t hold up well and got sort of rubbery when baked along with the cake for the full time, and I found the vanilla cake to be a bit bland. Next I tried simply mixing the topping ingredients together instead of cooking them into a caramel first. I just added some of the cake batter to get it all to come together. This attempt was much improved but I thought it lacked the toasty caramel flavor I was hoping for. For my third (and final) attempt I decided to toast the coconut and brown the butter before mixing it all together. I also added some vanilla bean and coconut extract to un-bland-ify the interior cake.

Third time’s a charm as they say, and this cake seriously ended up being thebomb.com. Thankfully, it was worth all the effort and recipe testing!

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

The rich brown coconut part of this cake is dense and chewy on the outer edges with a buttery and almost creamy quality on the inside. It has an amazingly rich, toasty, nutty flavor from the browned butter and toasted coconut, and a wonderful caramel flavor from the dark brown sugar. The simple vanilla cake on the interior is tender and buttery and packed with warm homey vanilla flavor.

Getting the coconut and brown sugar mixture to work as a “topping” like it would in a traditional dream cake means that you have to carefully press the mixture against the walls of the pan and make sure to push it up the sides and center tube. This can be a bit of a pain but does make for an impressive presentation. If you want to make your life a little easier though, I think it would be simpler and just as delicious if you were to combine these two batters like a marble cake instead. I’ll leave that up to you.

If you can, I recommend you try to make this cake the day before you’d like to serve it. It was amazing on the first day but I found that the texture of the coconut part had become even more tender and wonderful by the second day.

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Drømmekage (Danish Dream Cake) Bundt Cake

adapted from Saveur

If possible, try making this cake one day before you plan to serve it. The cake benefits from a day’s rest.

Coconut “Topping”:
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

Cake: 
1 1/4 cups sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod discarded (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Heat the oven to 350.
Evenly brush a 10 to 12 cup non-stick bundt pan with softened butter. Be sure to get into every nook and cranny. Dust pan with flour and tap out excess. Place pan in freezer while you proceed with recipe.

Make the coconut “topping”:
Spread coconut in an even layer over a large baking sheet. Toast coconut for about 10 minutes, stirring once to promote even browning and prevent burning. Watch carefully, the coconut can go from toasty to burnt in under a minute.
Once cool enough to handle, crush up roughly half of the coconut with your hands.
In a medium saucepan, brown the butter (only first stick) over medium heat, stirring regularly. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Once the butter reaches a nutty golden color, immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl. If desired, strain out browned milk solids in the butter. (I did, but not entirely necessary)
Add brown sugar and toasted coconut and stir to combine. Set aside.

Make the cake:
In a the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the sugar and softened butter (remaining stick) on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add scraped vanilla bean seeds (or paste or powder) and mix to combine. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl between additions. Add vanilla and coconut extracts and beat to combine.
Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
Alternate additions of flour and milk, beginning and ending with flour, scraping sides of bowl after each addition.  Mix just to combine after each addition. Do not over-mix.

Measure out about 2 cups of the batter and transfer to the bowl with the (cooled) browned butter and coconut mixture. Fold the batter in until combined.

If you want the coconut mixture on the outside and top of the cake, transfer it to the bundt pan and press the mixture against the sides of the pan, pushing it almost all the way up the outer sides and center cone of the pan. Next pour the remaining cake batter into the center of the coconut side walls.
If you’d prefer a marbled effect, pour cake batter into pan first, dot the top of the batter with several large spoonfuls of coconut mixture, and gently swirl the two batters together with a dull knife or icing spatula.

After adding batter to pan, gently tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles.
If using an intricately designed pan, you may want to place it on a cookie sheet to keep it level in the oven. Transfer to the center of the oven and bake just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool for 15 to 20 minutes on a wire rack before inverting the cake onto the rack to remove the pan. Cool for at least 30 minutes more before dusting with powdered sugar. Store in under a cake dome, in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent the cake from drying out. If well stored, the cake should keep for several days at room temperature.

drømmekage (danish dream cake) bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

There are so many mouthwatering bundts this month you can’t help but feel tropical. Regardless of what’s happening outside, you’re gonna need sunglasses to get through these amazing links!

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BundtBakers

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#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.

beet and blood orange bundt cake #bundtbakers

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “New Year, new you” at some point in your life.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Well, I’ve decided that I don’t need a new me. I’m as happy as a clam with the current me, so I’m tossing that pesky little phrase out the window.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

What I could use in the new year though, is some new recipes. I really want to shake things up and learn some new tricks in the kitchen.

In my last #bundtbakers post I mentioned that I’d gotten an old cookbook from my mother and I wanted to try some new (to me) recipes from old cookbooks. Russell heard me loud and clear and found me some even older cookbooks on Ebay for Christmas, one of them dating back to 1884. Some of these recipes are so old, and so unfamiliar, that they actually feel completely fresh and new and innovative! I can’t wait to start cooking my way through them!

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Don’t get the wrong idea though. While I definitely want to revisit the recipes of the past, I also want to try a few things that are totally new and modern. New ways of doing things, new techniques tips and tricks, new spins on classic recipes, and new combinations of flavors.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

As fate would have it, our very own June of How to Philosophize with Cake chose “Strange but good / weird flavor combinations” as our #bundtbakers theme this month. Can you think of a better segue into trying something new and exciting in the great big world of bundts?

I sure can’t!

I wasn’t the only one who got excited about this month’s super fun and interesting theme. 25 bloggers are participating this month and some of the ideas they came up with are truly mind-blowing. Please scroll down past the recipe to check out everyone’s cakes, but be warned, you might want to grab a towel to wipe up the drool while you read through their posts.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

After some serious thought and option weighing I decided to try making a beet cake. I’ve always loved beets and have often thought that their earthy sweetness would work well in dessert. I’ve wanted to try experimenting with beets in sweets for a long while but until now haven’t had the drive to go for it.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thought beets worked well with this theme. While everyone’s cakes are totally different, there are a few others who used beets in their recipes too, and they all sound phenomenal.

I’m usually pretty good at being able to size up a recipe and know what changes I can make without screwing it up.
Unfortunately this was not one of those times. I had a one hell of a time getting this recipe right and had to make three cakes before I was happy with the results. My first plan incorporated ricotta along with the beet puree and orange juice, and while it tasted great there was too much added moisture and the texture was dense and gummy. The ricotta didn’t really add much in the flavor department either, so I nixed it. The next try was much closer to perfection but I knew I still had a little work to do before I could proudly and confidently share the recipe with all of y’all.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

One thing I was sort of surprised and disappointed by was the way the bright red color of the beets baked out by the time the cake came out of the oven. For some reason the very top of the cake stayed red, but the interior turned a pale orange color. I tried a few things in my experimenting, and did some research online on how to preserve the color with acidic ingredients like orange juice, buttermilk, and baking powder (rather than baking soda which has a base PH). The bottom line though was that this cake needs to cook too long to be able to preserve the color, so making sure the cake is cooked all the way through means that you have to sacrifice that vivid red.

I thought about using food coloring to turn it red again, but that’s not really my style and it seemed unnecessary. The beets are there for flavor not color, and the flavor stays even after the color bakes out.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Let me tell you, this cake has amazing flavor in spades. You may think that using beets in a cake is weird or unappetizing, but think again. It may sound a bit weird in theory, but it’s seriously freaking delicious. Even people who don’t care for beets will probably enjoy this bright and citrusy cake.

Thanks to the moisture from the buttermilk and beet puree, this cake is incredibly moist and tender, with a light and delicate crumb. The bright citrusy acidity of the blood orange pairs beautifully with the sweet, earthy, almost floral flavor of the beet. Ground cardamom bolsters the floral notes in the beets, and a bit of ground clove bridges the gap between the bright citrus and earthy beet. A sunny blood orange glaze adds even more citrus flavor and a naturally pretty in pink color that’s missing from the cake itself. To top it all off a sprinkle of freshly toasted pistachios adds crunch, color, and an earthy floral flavor that compliments the rest of the cake perfectly.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Beet and Blood Orange Bundt Cake

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
zest of one blood orange
1/4 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
2 small to medium beets
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Orange glaze:
zest of one blood orange
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped

preheat oven to 350F.

Brush a 10 to 12 cup bundt pan with softened butter, dust with flour, and tap out excess. Refrigerate.

Combine orange zest and sugar in a large bowl and mix until well combined with an electric mixer. Set aside.

Wash and peel beets and cut into quarters. Place in a food processor with orange juice and puree until very smooth, about two to three minutes. Pour into a measuring cup and measure out exactly 1 cup of beet puree. Discard any extra if you have too much. If a little short you can top it off with a touch of extra buttermilk. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk to beet puree and stir well. Set aside.

Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, and cloves together in a medium sized bowl.

Add softened butter to orange scented sugar and cream together on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add oil, vanilla, and one egg at a time, beating just enough to incorporate. Alternate flour and beet mixtures, beginning and ending with flour, scraping sides of bowl between additions.

Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan, tap out any air in the pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 55 to 65 minutes, or just until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes before inverting pan to remove cake onto the rack. Cool on the rack until completely cool.

To make the glaze, whisk orange zest, orange juice, and powdered sugar toghether until smooth and completely free of lumps. The glaze should seem very thick, almost spreadable. If too thick add a few drops of water or orange juice, if too thin add more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Pour glaze over completely cooled cake, and before it dries, top with a sprinkle of pistachios.

Cake should keep, well sealed in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

beet and blood orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

There are so many incredibly interesting and mouthwatering cakes this month. I know I say this all the time, but I really wish I could try them all. Some of these combinations of flavor are simply unbelievable that I’ve got to try them for myself.

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BundtBakers

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#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.