High Altitude Baking: Eggnog bundt cake (holiday recipe)
Editor’s note: High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
This cake and I always get together during the holidays; it may be at a potluck, a buffet supper or a brunch, but each December we’re bound to connect. With a tender, pound-cake-style crumb, a mild eggnog flavor and a sweet, slightly crunchy rum glaze, it accompanies me to a variety of gatherings and is always a welcome guest.
To assure the recipe’s success, have all ingredients at room temperature, take your time when beating the butter, sugar and eggs, but, when adding the flour and eggnog, stir only until the new ingredient is fully incorporated. Be sure to use a well-flavored commercial eggnog (taste it before you proceed with the recipe) and select the refrigerated, not the canned, kind. If you double the recipe, then use three eggs and no egg yolks and expect the cake to take longer to bake.
Eggnog Bundt Cake
(Adjusted for altitudes of 8,000 feet and higher. Make in a 6-cup Bundt pan; double for a 12-cup Bundt pan.)
All ingredients should be at room temperature
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour (spoon and level)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon commercial refrigerated eggnog
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 tablespoon water
Step 1: Chop the dried cranberries until they’re in pieces the size of currants and combine them with the rum in a small bowl. Cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if your pan has a dark finish) with a rack in the center position. Generously grease the pan with a vegetable oil-flour spray (even if it’s non-stick).
Step 2: Combine the egg and egg yolk in a small bowl and beat with a fork until blended but not frothy. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a bowl and whisk vigorously to blend and aerate. Set both aside.
Step 3: Cut the room-temperature butter into eight pieces, place in a mixing bowl and beat, preferably with a stand mixer, at medium speed until creamy. Continue to beat while adding the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is light in color, soft and fluffy (this takes 4-5 minutes). Add the eggs, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently during this step.
Step 4: Either by hand or at your mixer’s lowest speed, add the flour in four additions, alternately with the eggnog in three additions (start and end with flour), scraping down the bowl frequently. After each addition, beat only until it is fully blended, no longer. Lastly, add the vanilla, the cranberries and the rum and stir only until they’re incorporated evenly throughout the batter.
Step 5: Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, level it and gently tap it on a counter several times to remove any air bubbles. Bake until the sides start to pull away from the pan, the top springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 40 minutes but start checking before that). Remove to a cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Step 6: While the cake cools, make the glaze: Stir or gently whisk the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until combined.
Step 7: After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, invert it onto a rack and remove it from the pan. If it sticks, then tap the pan sides with a heavy spoon. Brush the glaze all over the top and sides of the warm cake and let it cool completely. Serve or store, covered airtight, up to two days at room temperature or three days in the refrigerator (It’s at its best after the flavors have blended overnight). Serve at room temperature. If the commercial eggnog is thick enough to serve as a sauce, then a drizzle of it is a nice accompaniment.
This is a variation of a recipe from Flo Braker’s “Baking for All Occasions.” Vera Dawson is the author of the new high-altitude cookbook “Cookies in the Clouds,” available at The Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco. Dawson is a chef instructor with CMC’s Culinary Institute. Her recipes have been tested in her Summit County kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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