12 November 2007

A good find

On my way to the grocery store last Saturday I decided to stop by Goodwill. Although I won't ever take Seth along on one of these treasure hunts, I can't resist them.

Sure, most of the time there's just a bunch of smelly junk someone else didn't want, so why would I? But sometimes you score, finding just the right thing for the right price. As I strolled down the aisle crowded with a disorganized mass of kitchen tools, I spotted a Bundt pan. It was in good shape, not a scratch on the nonstick coated inside. The outside of the pan was a pale avocado green -- the exact shade that was on my mom's hand mixer when I was a kid, and probably that of thousands of other kitchen appliances in the 1970s.

Cozy inside many of those avocado green ovens were Bundt cakes baking away in their deep circular shape with fluted edges. It was 1966 when the Bundt hit it big in this country. That's when a cake baked in a Nordic Ware Bundt pan won a Pillsbury baking contest. The Minnesota company created the pan in 1950, and in 1970 gave Pillsbury the right to use its trademark name in a cake mix.

So, an avocado green bundt pan made its way to my kitchen via Goodwill via some woman my mom's age cleaning out her cupboards, or something along those lines. And to make sure it didn't have the same fate in my kitchen, I made a Bundt cake last night.

I researched a few recipes online and settled on this one in part because it was right for the season, but also because it was the only one that I had all the ingredients for in my kitchen. As for the buttermilk, I soured my own with vinegar.

Here goes. It was delicious and dense.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Icing, epicurious.com

For cake
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-oz can; not pie filling)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

For icing
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Special equipment: a 10-inch nonstick bundt pan (3 qt)


Make cake:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bundt pan generously, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together flour (2 1/4 cups), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.

Beat butter (1 1/2 sticks) and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.

Make icing:
While cake is cooling, whisk together buttermilk and confectioners sugar until smooth. Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly.

Cooks' note:
Cake can be made 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

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