Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Rosie Makes Mr. Hawthorne A Birthday Cake. It's Pound/Lemon/Pistachio. And Caramel!

Mr. Hawthorne's birthday was not too long ago and throughout the years, I've made all manner of cakes for this auspicious occasion.  I've done cheesecakes, tiramisus, dense and intense chocolate cakes, coconut pecan cakes, boozy, rum-saturated cakes - you name it, I've done it.  I thought I'd try something a little different this year.  I wanted something like a pound cake but in a bundt pan.  And I had pistachios.  And lemons. And a homemade vanilla pudding mixture still in the fridge leftover from that rum cake. So there's my start.

First, I liberally buttered and pistachio-ed my bundt pan.

Here are all my ingredients.

Rosie's Pistachio and Lemon Bundt Cake
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 oz. homemade vanilla pudding mix  (Recipe below.)
6 eggs, room temperature
3 cups sifted cake flour
zest of 2 lemons
Caramel glaze  (Recipe below.)

Heat oven to 325°.
Cream butter and cream cheese on medium high speed until nice and ... creamy.
Slowly beat in sugar and dry pudding mix.
Continue beating mixture for about 7 minutes.  Don't skimp on the whip time here.  Because the eggs are the only leavening ingredients (no baking soda or powder), you want to whip plenty of air into the cake during the creaming process so you'll get the lift you want during baking.
Reduce speed to medium low and beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated.
Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour, about a cup at a time, until just incorporated.  Do not overbeat.
Stir in lemon zest.
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan, smoothing top.
Bake for 1 hour, 15-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack and let cool completely.

When cool, take a skewer or chopstick and punch holes through top of cake.
Drizzle caramel glaze over top and sides of cake, letting the glaze go into the holes. This way, you'll have nice little tunnels of caramel channeling through the cake.

Vanilla Pudding Mix
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 whole vanilla beans
Combine dry milk, cornstarch, sugar, and salt.  Slice down the length of the vanilla beans and scrape out seeds, adding them to the dry ingredients.  Whisk until evenly distributed.  Don't throw out the scraped beans.  Slice into thirds and throw them into the mixture as well.  Pour mixture into a zip-lock plastic bag and keep in refrigerator.  The mixture keeps well in the fridge.  If you ever use additional vanilla bean seeds, save the beans and throw them into the mix as well.  (One can never have too much vanilla.)

Now, if you want to make pudding - combine 1 1/4 cups of the mix with 2 cups of milk in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and continue whisking until mixture thickens and coats spoon.  (About 5 minutes.)  Pour into a container and let set for 10 minutes before serving, or refrigerate.

Caramel Glaze
4 TB unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
In small sauce pan, melt butter.  Stir in brown sugar and salt and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring, until dissolved.  Add heavy cream, bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes.  Let cool.

Pour batter into bundt pan and...

...smooth it out.

Bake 1 hour, 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in pan 10-15 minutes.
Then invert onto a rack.

Let cool completely.

For the caramel:
Melt butter and add brown sugar.
Cook for a minute or so.
Add in cream ...
...and bring to boil.

Cook about 2 minutes until thickened.
Let cool.
Pour caramel over cake.
Halfway through pouring, I decided to punch holes into the cake with a skewer.
Note to self:  Self, next time poke more holes to hold the caramel.

It's a partay!

Ohhh,  this is goooooood.
Texture is perfect.
Flavor is lemony.
Pistachios and caramel make it even better.


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