This cake was by far the biggest Bundt A Month challenge I have faced. Confession: I don’t usually care for tropical desserts. And tropical is March’s theme. Have you ever noticed that the hotter the climate gets, the sweeter the desserts get? Not richer or unhealthier, but just naturally sweeter. Rice puddings, custards… They are just too sweet for me, as ar the fruits that often comprise desserts in warmer places: bananas, mangoes, papaya, melons… So I was stumped for quite a while.
Outside the box was the only place to go. First, citrus. Most citrus is sub-tropical, meaning that it grows in the tropics but it is also often hardy enough to survive some frost. So I felt that citrus was somewhat keeping within the spirit of the challenge, but not completely. So I added an actual vanilla bean, totally tropical, and extra virgin coconut oil, once again totally tropical. Mind you the biggest flavor is orange, so I may have cheated a bit, but with this result I cannot find it in myself to care. This was one of the most unique and delicious cakes I have ever made. I was inspired by Warren Brown’s Sassy Cake, which can be found on the Food Network, but slightly different versions can also be found in his CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch as well as in Baking from the Heart: Our Nation’s Best Bakers Share Cherished Recipes for The Great American Bake Sale, so I ended up consulting all 3 before deciding to diverge in a completely different direction.
The most intriguing part of this cake is that somewhat elusive yet heady coconut perfume from the coconut oil. Be sure to use extra virgin coconut oil, as only that will smell right (refining coconut oil removes almost all coconut fragrance). Also, be aware that (sadly but not catastrophically) that coconut perfume will fade over time, so on day 3 you will have a kick ass orange vanilla cake that is not quite so unique. This cake was a huge hit with my family. It has been devoured and chosen over all manner of storebought novelties (not always the case for my kids by, say, day 3 of a dessert).
Here’s how you can be a part of Bundt-a-Month:
- Simple rule: Use any tropical fruit – and bake us a Bundt for March
- Post it before March 31, 2013.
- Use the #BundtAMonth hashtag in your title. (For ex: title should read #BundtAMonth: Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt)
- Add your entry to the Linky tool below
- Link back to our announcement posts.
I hope you check out everyone else’s fabulous tropical bundts!:
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- 3 cups (378 g) AP flour
- 1½ t cornstarch
- ½ t salt
- ¼ t cayenne pepper (don’t leave out-the heat is subtle but it balances the sweet)
- ¼ t baking soda
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
- seeds from one fat, soft vanilla bean
- zest of 2 oranges
- 3 cups sugar
- 5 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 t decent quality tequila
- 2 t coconut rum
- 1 t limoncello
- 1 triple sec
- 1 t Tuaca
- 2 t vanilla
- ½ cup orange purée (peel and segment the oranges and then puree the segments–3 oranges will leave you with some extra puree)
- 1 cup full fat sour cream
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Zest the oranges. Set aside. Then prepare the orange puree. Set aside.
- Grease and flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan. Also grease and flour either some mini loaf pans or mini bundt pans. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, cayenne pepper and baking soda. Set aside.
- Measure out the liquors and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and extra virgin coconut oil until creamy and completely incorporated. Add the orange zest and vanilla seeds. Beat for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the eggs to the mixer 1 at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the egg yolks and incorporate them as well.
- Whisk together the orange puree and sour cream. Mix in the liquors and extract.
- At lowest speed, in 4 and 5 additions, respectively, alternately add the flour mix and sour cream mix. Fold by hand at the very end to ensure it is all incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan until ¾ full. Divide the remaining batter evenly into the mini bundts or loaf pans (put an inch or so of water into any mini bundt wells that do not have batter). Bake the smaller cakes for 15-20 minutes at 350 F. For the larger bundt cake, bake for 45 minutes at 350 F and then reduce the heat to 325 F and bake an additional 20-30 minutes. For either size cake, test for doneness by watching for the sides of the cake pulling away from the pan, and for a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake to come out clean or with only a few crumbs attached.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes (5-8 minutes for the mini cakes–and be sure to soak up or otherwise remove any water in mini bundt wells). Invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
- This cake will continue to taste fantastic as the days pass, but it is truly best during the first day or 2, as that is when the elusive, gorgeous aroma of coconut is the strongest.