The Honorable Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, home of Nordic Ware, has proclaimed Wednesday, November 15th as National Bundt Day. It commemorates their 60th Anniversary of a pan that literally has changed baking cakes--in fact, there are over 60 million bundt pans across the continent! So, how could I not celebrate the day when this cake pan has been around "almost" as long as I have. LOL!!
I learned to love the Bundt pan watching and helping my mother whip up this most beloved cake. It was her choice in pans to use when baking the pound cakes she made over the years and certainly, when she was taking a cake to a friend or church function because of how stable it is when transporting it. One of my favorites was the "Tunnel of Fudge" cake created by Ella Helfrich in 1966 for The Pillsbury National Bake-Off contest. She took 2nd place, but most importantly, Pillsbury got over 200,000 inquiries as to where to find the pan she baked it in.
My choice for a unique Bundt cake to honor the day is derived from a memory I have of my mother's fritters. Okay, you're probably saying, "fritters and bundt cake just don't seem to go together," but remember it's the pan that creates the dessert and I have found through the years, that almost anything comes out great in a Bundt pan. Fritters are known world-wide and simply consist of an ingredient, coated in batter and deep fried, i.e., British fish (and chips), corn, zucchini, clams, etc. to name just a few. For me, apple fritters are so satisfying--rings of tart, fall apples, dipped in a batter and fried, then, dusted with confectioners' sugar--and my mom made the best :D! I'm changing this around and instead of making a batter, typical for fritters...or even a cake, I've decided to go with a yeast dough and bake it in a Bundt pan. A drizzling of a glaze over the warm cake it finishes the dessert that maybe will make you think twice how you can use your bundt pan.
Apple~Cranberry Fritter Bundt Cake
1/4 cup milk
2 T unsalted butter
Place in the microwave and heat for 35-40 seconds, until the butter has melted. Remove and add warm water up to the 3/4 cup mark.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, add:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. salt
Mix until ingredients have blended together. While the mixer is running, slowly add the milk/butter/water mixture and mix thoroughly.
2 T (or 2 pkgs) yeast
Mix again to incorporate the yeast. Let set 5 to 7 minutes until the yeast mixture becomes frothy. (This ensures you that your yeast is good and proofed.)
2 T. shortening
1/4 tsp. mace
3 - 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Bread flour
After about 2 cups of flour, change to the dough hook to finish the dough. The dough should cling to the hook, but still be somewhat tacky. Turn dough out onto a bread board and knead until smooth. Use a rolling pin to roll dough out to a rectangle 8" x 10". Place on a half-sheet pan, lightly sprayed with baking spray and cover with a towel.
To help the dough rise easier, I made a "make-shift" proofing oven. Place the pan with the dough on the middle rack and on a lower rack add another baking pan. Fill that pan with boiling water, then, close the door to your oven. On these chilly mornings a little help from this method produces the right atmosphere for a good rise. Let rise about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the Apple~Cranberry Filling:
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T Boiled Apple Cider
pinch of salt
In a medium saute pan, mix all the ingredients. Cook over med/low heat until all the liquid has evaporated and the apples have softened--about 7-9 minutes. Transfer mixture to a shallow bowl and cool completely.
To create the "Fritter":
Remove the dough from the proofing oven and roll out, on a lightly floured board, to roughly a 12-inch square, about 1/2" thick. Spoon the apple/cranberry mixture on half of the dough. Sprinkle mixture with 1 tablespoon of bread flour and 1/2 teaspoon of Apple Pie Spice. Fold over the "empty" half of the dough over the mixture.
Using a metal bench scrapper, start cutting the dough vertically, in 1-inch sections, then repeat this method going horizontally and diagonally.
Dust the board again with flour and the cut-up dough. With your hands, form the dough into a "roll", adding more flour as necessary to hold it together.
Cut the roll in half and place it into a buttered 12-cup Bundt pan.
Repeat with the remaining half of dough. Brush the surface with butter and cover with a piece of plastic wrap.
Place in the oven once more, and proof by pouring boiling water into a pan beneath it like you did for the dough in the first rising. Let rise again, 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Remove from the oven and preheat oven to 375F-degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower oven to 350F-degrees and continue baking another 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool about 7-8 minutes, then, invert on a rack. Place rack on a baking sheet to glaze.
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 T light Karo syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Apple flavoring (optional, but well worth it!)
3-4 T boiling hot water
Whisk together all the ingredients, starting with 3 tablespoons of the boiling hot water, adding more if needed. Pour the glaze over the warm cake. Use a spatula to scoop up overage of glaze and add in places not covered. Using a giant spatula, lift cake to a serving plate and allow to cool.
Yum, warm memories of my mother's fritters in this celebratory pan made my morning. Happy Birthday Bundt and a big thank you to Nordicware. Enjoy!