It’s been some time since we’ve heard from my pal Zany. Who would have guessed she was singularly responsible for upping the calorie intake of the city of Chicago?
Greetings from the Windy City. I’m writing to you from the finish line. No, I didn’t run a race…but I did go on a bit of a baking marathon over the past few months. For this, I blame you, as I often do when it comes to over-ordering and other spontaneous food adventures.
It all started last year after I read a Culinary Types post about the love of your bundt pan. After reading that entry I said to myself, “I don’t have a bundt pan…should I get one?” And later that morning I waddled (you may recall last winter I was pretty pregnant) to my nearest Macy’s and purchased my very own pan.
I remember making my first bundt just a day later for a ladies lunch at my friend’s house in the burbs. For my first recipe I used your recommendation to go with a Martha Stewart classic – the blueberry lemon bundt.
The cake received such rave reviews (my friend whose husband went to culinary school devoured it), that I decided to make it again in the spring for a work luncheon to celebrate our team’s amazing assistant. We gathered around a table outfitted with fine china (this was no ordinary event!) and sliced into the cake. It was so tempting that even our I-would-rather-cycle-than-eat-carbs boss had a piece. I let him believe it was the copious amount of blueberries instead of the two sticks of butter that made the cake so moist…
And that’s when it happened.
Everyone was marveling over the beauty of the bundt (we were comparing who did and did not have pans), and my trusty colleague DT suggested, “You should make bundts more often.”
“Yeah,” chimed in another. “You could do a theme or something.”
“Maybe something like a ‘summer of the bundt’,” I suggested. “I could do a different recipe each month!” The carb lovers rejoiced.
A few weeks later I followed up a pound cake with lemon-basil frosting from Cooking Light. I try to balance the number of calories I bring into the office, so considering the two sticks of butter I used the last time, this was my nod to a little lighter eating. The pound cake was nice and solid, and the frosting had a light flavoring – perfect to pair with an afternoon cup of tea. I alerted the boss that another bundt was on the premises, but this time he kept an arm’s length.
The next bundt was in celebration of my good friend and colleague Jonesy’s birthday. Jonesy has an adventurous spirit, which is what I really like about her. She also got extra points in my book when she agreed to visit a food truck for a lunch meeting (note to loyal CT readers, we ate outside). For her, I went the old school route and made Betty Crocker’s sour cream coffee cake. T.W., this cake is why people call things “classic.” It was crumbly like coffee cake should be, the cinnamon swirls were my finest piece of art…and the frosting….well just look at the picture!
Now I was in a groove. My bundts were falling perfectly from the nonstick pan and I was earning water cooler street creds in the office.
But, for my next piece, I picked a different target – Luigi, my favorite Italian (and husband). For those CT readers who don’t know, Luigi and I had a baby girl this past New Year’s Day…we’ll call her Sticky Hands (because her hands are ALWAYS sticky). I really want a good mother-daughter relationship in the kitchen, so I’ve started her early. Strapped into her activity chair, I read to Sticky the recipe for a chocolate sour cream bundt cake with chocolate ganache frosting. It was Father’s Day and I couldn’t think of a better gift! That night when Luigi cut into the cake it still had a little warmth. Luigi didn’t say a word as he rapidly slid his fork through his piece until it was gone. Only when he was done he muttered (with his head down), “You’re going to have to take some of that into work or I’m going to eat it all.”
Bringing that cake into work was a grave mistake. Colleagues DT and Brecks both labeled it as the best thing I had made since I started working there.
Now I was in trouble. Summer wasn’t over and I still had more bundts to make! T.W., you may recall my panic attack one weekend as I struggled with which recipe to choose next. We decided on a white chocolate raspberry bundt, because if you can’t beat a chocolate recipe, serve another!
Despite your warning about your experience with overloading / exploding berry bundts, I added a few more raspberries to this recipe – and it was worth it!
As summer drew to a close, I had the perfect bundt finale in mind. But a certain Chicago-based carnivore, who shall remain nameless, decided to vacate the city for weeks, so she wasn’t around for me to bake her a birthday bundt surprise!
I searched and searched for the perfect recipe, asking Sticky Hands for advice. And as I fed her a scoop of homemade applesauce it came to me…why not honor the coming of a new season?! Despite the 80-degree Chicago weather, last weekend I lined up my nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon to welcome autumn with an apple spice bundt and maple frosting. Again, I read the recipe to assistant Sticky Hands…who was more interested in the cooking tools than the actual cooking.
So, now you know what I did this summer. But, as my colleagues reminded me, there are three other seasons in a year, so why stop now?!
Yours in condiments,
©2013 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved