simple

basic bundt series: buttermilk pound cake

Hi there friends! Long time no see!

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve basically dropped off the face of the planet recently. Ever since diving head first into the renovations of Maxwell’s last summer, I’ve been posting less and less frequently and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want out of my lil’ ol blog and how much time and energy I want to put into it. Things have definitely calmed down now that Maxwell’s is up and running (and doing pretty darned well, thanks for asking), but rather than jumping from that project right back into blogging the way I used to, I’ve been taking some time for myself lately and trying to enjoy the summer.

We recently bought a car (it’s used guys, we’re not that bougie) and after 10 full years in Brooklyn, the city suddenly seems sooo much smaller and more accessible than it used to. Rather than staying home to bake and photograph fruit pies on a beautiful Summer days, we’ve been piling in the car and taking field trips to parks, beaches, stores, and points of interest that are a real pain in the arse to reach by subway or bus. We’ve even taken the dogs up to the Hudson Valley for a few little hiking trips, and went to the Adirondacks for a long weekend in Lake Placid for my birthday. Hence, for the first time ever, I didn’t post any cake recipe for my birthday this year.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m really not trying to gloat here guys, I just want to let you know that even though I haven’t been posting nearly as frequently lately, you’re still on my mind.

Like, a lot.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I got into blogging because I love food, especially baking and historic recipes and random food trivia; but as it turns out, blogging is A LOT of work and actually pretty pricey as hobbies go. Taking a little time for myself has given me some new perspective and helped me realize that I can’t keep up with the pace that I initially set for myself, and that’s okay. I need and deserve a life outside of blogging and I can’t beat myself up if I fall behind on posting. As much as I’d love to post constantly, life gets in the way. I’m sure you understand.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Anyway, worrying about all this actually of made me want to stay away entirely, but with every letter I type I feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders and it’s honestly helping me remember how much I loved doing this in the first place. I know I could have just made the decision to step back on my own and just quietly moved on with my life, but if I’m not oversharing can I really even call myself a blogger at all? I mean… Probably not right?

Long story short, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that you’re probably going to see less of me around here going forward, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

One thing that really helped me get back into the swing of things and re-discover my love for This Old Blog™ was baking one of my absolute favorite things in the whole wide world, the magnificent, magical bundt cake!

I’m sure that you know by now that I have an unnatural love for bundt cakes. A love that may even be illegal in certain states.
While I absolutely relish the interesting & creative challenges thrown my way by the #bundtbakers group over the past few years, I’ve been thinking lately that I’d really like to spend some time perfecting some simpler, easier, more traditional bundt cakes with a broader appeal and a more familiar flavor profile.

I still plan on getting jiggy with the #bundtbakers every now and again, but for the first time in several years I’d like to share some cakes that don’t necessarily fit in with their creative themes.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m hoping to eventually follow this post up with a an entire series of bundt cake recipes featuring simple, familiar flavors; vanilla, lemon, chocolate, spice, etc.
The basic bundt series.

Get it?

To kick the whole thing off, I thought I’d go with the simplest, and most potentially versatile cake that I could think of. The plain ol’ pound cake. Butter. Eggs. Buttermilk. Vanilla.
Heaven.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

This cake is delicately sweet and super buttery. Since the butter is the standout flavor in this recipe, I’d recommend springing for the best you can find. I promise it’s worth the extra buck or two.

Because I use buttermilk rather than sour cream, this recipe is a little lighter and more delicate than some other pound cakes you may have had, but I actually prefer it this way. As a cake rather than a loaf, sliced thick and served with fresh fruit, I think the lighter crumb is just the ticket.
In the Summer a big thick slice of pound cake is heaven with fresh whipped cream and macerated strawberries or fresh ripe blueberries.

If you want to kick this cake up to the next level though, feel free to experiment a little!
This recipe is the perfect base for almost any flavor you could want to pair with it. Add a few tablespoons of your favorite booze to add another layer of flavor. Toss in a cup of fresh (or frozen) berries to make a fruity, summery pound cake. Instead of fruit, why not stir in a cup of chocolate chips and some chopped walnuts? Or infuse the butter (or buttermilk) with tea leaves, lavender flowers, fresh herbs, or dried spices. You could even stir some fresh citrus zest into the sugar before creaming it into the butter.
Once you get the basics down, the skies the limit folks!

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

buttermilk pound cake bundt

1 cup (2 sticks) best quality unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and lightly flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan. Tap out excess flour. Refrigerate pan until ready for use.

Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until very light, about a minute or two. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula and add oil and beat until smooth and combined. Add sugar and beat until fluffy and pale, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix vanilla into buttermilk.
Alternate additions of the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the butter, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the bowl after each addition. Do not over-mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan, leaving at least an inch from the top of the pan. Tap the pan on the counter several times to smooth out the batter and remove any air bubbles.
Bake for about 60 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before turning out of pan. Turn out onto the rack and cool completely before glazing.

Best Simple Bundt Cake Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons half & half

Mix sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons half & half together in a small bowl. Mix until completely smooth and free of lumps. You want the glaze to be very thick so it doesn’t slide right off the cake, but it does need to be liquid enough that it pours smoothly. If necessary, thin the glaze out with more half & half, adding only about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time to avoid thinning it too much.

Pour the glaze in a steady stream over the center of the cake. Place a pan under the rack just in case the glaze drips. Let the glaze harden for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Cake can be store, tightly covered at room temperature, for about 3 days.

favorite roasted broccoli

So, when it comes to meal planning, I’m kind of old fashioned.

favorite roasted broccoli | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m not quite sure why, but I often feel like a balanced meal should have three components. You gotta have your protein, your starch, and your veg. I don’t know exactly when or where I picked up this way of thinking about my dinner plate, but it’s deeply ingrained.  Maybe it was from my mother, or maybe my grandmother. When I was studying abroad in France, a chef once told me that plates should always feature odd numbers because odd numbers are more “beautiful” than even ones. Maybe that’s why I’m partial to having three different things on my plate.

favorite roasted broccoli | Brooklyn Homemaker

I really like to experiment with new recipes, but when it comes to filling those three little voids I keep an arsenal of quick and easy go-to recipes for when I’m feeling uninspired or in a rush. One of my favorite vegetable preparations is oven-roasted broccoli. It’s super simple, super healthy, and super delicious!

favorite roasted broccoli | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m sorry that I waited this long to share this recipe with you, but for a long time I actually thought it was too simple to necessitate a full post of it’s own. It’s not really very original or innovative, and it requires so little work or thought that I assumed it wasn’t worth writing about. A few weeks ago I made this for my mother and she mentioned that she’d never thought to make broccoli this way, and I realized that some of you might enjoy trying a new technique too!

favorite roasted broccoli | Brooklyn Homemaker

I know a lot of people like to steam or boil their broccoli, so I thought it’d be nice to share another idea that’s just as easy and happens to be (in my opinion) more flavorful. Cooking broccoli with water can make it taste, well, watery. Rather than losing any flavor, roasting your broccoli concentrates and intensifies it. It requires little more work than chopping fresh broccoli into large bite-sized florets, tossing with some olive oil and salt & pepper, and sliding into the oven just long enough to give it a bit of color.

favorite roasted broccoli | Brooklyn Homemaker

This preparation pairs really well with any number of meals. I’ve even used this method to pre-cook broccoli for pasta dishes or salads. It can also easily be tweaked or gussied up to fit the flavors of whatever you’ll be serving it with. If you wanted to add a little extra flavor before roasting, you could toss the broccoli in a little soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, or hot sauce along with the olive oil. My favorite way to prepare it though is to roast it first and then squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top to bring out the fresh bright green flavor without overpowering or covering it up.

 favorite roasted broccoli | Brooklyn Homemaker

This will work with other vegetables too, but cooking time may need to be adjusted. I just made some fresh local asparagus (Yay!! Asparagus season!!), roasted it for a few minutes less, and boy was it wonderful! I don’t think this would work very well with frozen vegetables though, because they’d likely end up mushy and overcooked. Part of the appeal of this technique is that vegetables maintain a little bit of their crisp texture and bite, which frozen vegetables have already lost.

favorite roasted broccoli | Brooklyn Homemaker

Cutting up your own head of fresh broccoli is super easy and worth the little (tiny) bit of effort. I usually turn the head over stem-side-up (or on it’s side) and work around the head with a sharp knife cutting the florets off where they branch out naturally, rotating the head as I work my way in. If some of the florets are especially large you can cut them in half or in quarters, from top to bottom. Simple. Easy. Healthy. Delicious.

favorite roasted broccoli | Brooklyn Homemaker

roasted broccoli

1 large head broccoli

1/4-1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Preheat oven to 425. Cut broccoli into large bite sized florets and place in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, & olive oil and toss toss toss until well coated. Spread evenly over a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until just starting to brown. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if desired.