My Wee One headed back to school this morning…for her second year of preschool.
She’ll be 4 years old this week.
When I started this space, she was just a baby; as in literally a baby wobbling around on pudgy legs that had just learned how to walk.
If you need me, I’ll just be right over here inside this cake. It’s not a big bundt – only a 6 cup bundt, more of a petite teacake – but I think if I try really hard, I could curl myself up in it and live there for a few days. Perhaps tunnel my way out by snacking. I don’t know. But that’s the plan.
I know some of you are getting ready to have your own little ones. I don’t know if anyone has told you this, but they really are like having your own heart wandering around outside your body; that is not hyperbole. It is both awesome and not awesome at exactly the same time. Be prepared.
This cake seems to have healing properties: something about the purity of the vanilla intensified by the malt is pretty incredible in terms of comfort food. You don’t even have to glaze it: a little powdered sugar dusting would be just fine on top. It’s on the same sweetness level with the cake part of a New York style coffee cake, and with a similar sturdiness. Plus, when you make bundt cakes, you make them knowing that cake shaped like giant donut automatically means you can eat it for breakfast and no one will look at you funny. Just throw some berries or something on the plate with it, because then everyone just thinks you’re a well-rounded food person who really knows how to enjoy life.
So I’m going to wallow for a little while longer today, and then I’m going to realize how irrational I’m being, as my Wee is 3 minutes away, and how I can’t have it both ways and how a very tiny part of me has been waiting for this moment (from a work perspective) all summer long. Then I’m going to catch up on things in the quiet that I haven’t been able to do for ages, and the time will fly, and when she’s running around here this afternoon and I can get nothing done again, I’ll remember why I loved school. Until then, I cake.
Adapted from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. A flat-out delicious book: everything I’ve made from it has been absurdly good.
Vanilla Malt Bundt Cake
for the cake:
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon malt powder (I like Carnation)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulate sugar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, pod discarded
- 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the glaze:
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (add more as you need it)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons malt powder
- 2 tablespoons milk
Make that cake:
Butter a 6 cup bundt pan* thoroughly, add a spoonful of flour to coat, and knock out any excess. Alternatively, oil the pan using a flavorless oil and a paper towel, or spray the entire thing down with cooking spray. I’ll warn you: the more deep curves or sharp angles your pan has (I’m looking at you, Heritage Bundt) the more you’ll want to do this carefully to make sure you get it all the crevices. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
*You don’t have a 6 cup Bundt? Neither do i, which is fine, because this recipe works just perfectly in a larger full-size Bundt pan. Pick your favorite knowing that the batter will only fill it about 1/2 to 2/3 full.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, malt powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and adding the vanilla bean seeds in with one of the additions. Scrape down the sides again and beat until combined, about 20 seconds more.
With the mixer on low, add half the flour mixture, stirring on low for a few seconds, then stream in the buttermilk. Mix for a few seconds more, add the remaining flour mixture, and mix for 15 to 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, checking for any dry spots, and mix on low for a few seconds more until everything is incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, checking at the 35-minute mark and rotating the pan halfway through baking, until a small knife, skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Transfer cake (in pan) to a wire rack and allow to cool for 45 minutes. Carefully loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and from the center (never forget the center) and turn it out onto the rack to cool completely. Meanwhile…
Make that glaze:
Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, malt powder, and milk to a medium bowl. Whisk together until glaze comes together and is smooth. From there, it depends on what you want: for a thicker, more opaque glaze, add confectioner’s sugar a spoonful at a time until desired consistency is achieved. For a light drizzle, thin out with a very small amount of milk. Gravity is your best friend and worst enemy here, and you really can’t change consistency once you start to drizzle the cake, so test your consistency on an overturned bowl or drinking glass if you’re unsure of how it will act. That’s less of a pro tip and more of an “I have disappointed myself too many times with my own glazes” tip.