The other day, I suddenly had the urge to bake a cake. Usually, when the urge to bake strikes, it is pretty vague - I just feel like baking, and then have to figure out what sounds good. This time, the urge was specific. I felt like making a cake. A streussel cake. Not sure where that came from, but there it was.
As luck would have it, we had just recently stumbled across a recipe for a yellow cake that was claimed to be the best. And since the recipe has survived for 100 years and is still said to be the best, well, I was inclined to believe it.
As additional luck would have it, my mother in law was happy to loan me her bundt pan, which made the prospect of baking a streussel cake even more enticing.
The first step was to prepare the streussel topping. I don't have a standard streussel topping recipe, so I kinda winged it. We started by crushing some pecans, a job little miss was more than happy to help with. The nuts were mixed with some brown sugar, cinnamon and flour, to which we then cut in some butter. We sprinkled a little bit of the topping into the bottom of the greased bundt pan, then set the rest aside to be used later.
My budding baker helped me measure, pour and work the mixer. The batter actually came together beautifully, and I was extremely pleased with the recipe selection.
Once the batter was prepared, we poured half into the bundt pan, over the light layer of streussel topping, and then proceeded to sprinkle on the remaining topping. Little miss loves any opportunity to dive into a recipe with her hands, and this was no exception. Once we had a good layer of the nutty topping on there, we covered it up with the second half of the cake batter.
Then came the tricky part - the yellow cake recipe is written with a baking time assuming that you are baking it in two eight-inch round cake pans. A bundt pan makes a much thicker cake, and I wasn't exactly sure how to adjust that baking time. Obviously it would need more time, but I wasn't sure how much. I started with adding ten minutes to the recommened 30 minutes. When the timer beeped, I checked the cake, and it was definitely not ready, so I set the timer for ten more minutes. Still not done, but much closer. After five more minutes, I knew we were close. Two more minutes did the trick.
Once the cake cooled for a couple of minutes, I turned it out onto a plate to finish cooling. But we weren't ready to serve it yet - it still needed one finishing touch. Little miss and I have become pretty big fans of glaze toppings on our cakes, so of course we felt that this cake was incomplete without one. Our usual concoction of confectioners sugar, milk and a touch of vanilla extract came together beautifully, and made the perfect decorative (not to mention, tasty) drizzle.
All that was left to do was to wait for dinner to be done to cut into this! When we did, I was interested to see that the "middle" layer of streussel topping had migrated almost all the way to the top of the cake, rather than remaining in the middle. I am not sure if was because the topping was too heavy or because the cake batter was a little too delicate to hold it up. Regardless, the cake was delicious. It made a great dessert that night, and an even better breakfast the next morning.
I can guarantee that I will be making the yellow cake recipe again, for different uses, and in different incarnations. I will also use the bundt pan again before returning it to my mother in law - it definitely adds a new layer of fun to cake baking. All in all, not too shabby for a sudden baking urge.
3 weeks ago