I confess. I have recently developed a little obsession with mini-bundt cakes.
I usually try to vary my kitchen experiments, but ever since those Little Jackie Ds popped out of the oven, I’ve been on a quest to find recipes that I can, well, miniaturize.
I’ve heard about this syndrome before. In some people, it manifests itself with an overpowering desire to bake macarons.
Of course, I’m not gaining any deep insight from this endeavor, or preparing to start a business. I’m just eating the results and probably gaining at the waistline.
My issue with obsessive behavior is not new. I once aspired to own every recording ever made by Olivia Newton-John. A pasta obsession (I would eat it by the pound) in the mid-1990s resulted in a bit of excess weight-gain, just before the low-carb craze took over. The Hollywood writers strike did little to curb my addictive fascination for the TV program Lost. Every day at 3:00 PM, I make a Pavlovian-trip to the office vending machine for a bag of M&Ms – dark chocolate only. Then there’s that issue with red sweaters, but it’s really just a seasonal obsession.
I’ve also had a strong attraction to the diminutive. Don’t bother super-sizing for me. Growing up, I was a big fan of the pint-sized super hero, The Atom who had the power to reduce himself to microscopic stature and I voraciously read every volume of The Borrowers, a British classic about a family of tiny people who live under the floorboards of an English country estate. And, I had trouble containing my glee when the Irwin Allen TV science fiction fantasy “Land of the Giants” was released on DVD. The show never made the big-time but I loved the episodes of a Lilliputian band of explorers who crash in a land filled with gargantuan adversaries.
Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My House to Yours” is the perfect guide for anyone looking to experiment a bit. Her “Playing Around” section of each recipe encourages the adventurous, and I promptly begin to mess around with her classic Coconut Tea Cake, found on page 194. In my miniature world, a single bundt cake divides into six, and I guild the lily of what she describes as a “plain cake” with cardamom and a dressier rum cream glaze. The little cakes have a nice kick with the flavors of tropical coconut, jaunty dark rum and the mysteriously seductive essence of cardamom.
Mini-Bundt Coconut Tea Cakes with Cardamom and Rum Cream Glaze
(Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
Two cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup coconut cream (she recommends canned, unsweetened coconut milk, but that was unavailable)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut in pieces
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons dark rum
¾ cup unsweetened coconut
Generously grease and flour six to nine mini bundt molds (the coconut can tend to make the cake stick to the pan). Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
Put the coconut cream in a saucepan with the pieces of butter. Heat until the butter is melted. Remove from heat but keep warm.
Fit mixer with whisk attachment. Beat the eggs and sugar at medium high speed, about three minutes until pale and thick. Beat in vanilla and rum. Reduce speed to low, and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until blended.
With mixer on low, add coconut. Then add the warm coconut cream and butter, just until combined. Divide batter among mini-bundt molds, being sure to cover the inner tube with the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes and then remove from pan.
Drizzle mini-bundt cakes with Rum Cream Glaze (1 tablespoon rum, one tablespoon cream and 1 cup sifted confectioners sugar whisked together until smooth) and sprinkle tops of cakes with more coconut.
©2008 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved