Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bundt Cakes

I have a new plaything—a lovely bundt cake form from Nordic Ware. It's an American company with a generous variety of such playful, heavy-duty cake pans that I understand the people who like to collect them!

My pan's crisp swirls are tempting me into the new repertoire of bundt cakes, and my colleagues are very grateful. I'm providing two cake recipes here, one for a vegan chocolate cake using a quickbread method, the other for lemon cake using the traditional cake method. Both cakes feature an unusual ingredient—beets in the chocolate cake, white pepper in the lemon cake.

Vegan cakes need something to provide the moisture and tender crumb that eggs contribute to ordinary cakes; fruit or vegetables can help bridge the gap, so I was not surprised to see recipes that involve applesauce or beets. Chocolate cake with beets is something I've known about for years and forms the basis of our family recipe for Black Forest Cake, so a vegan variant is a logical step.

The lemon cake recipe is even more interesting because it calls for 1-2 teaspoons of white pepper. This results in a sophisticated cake that leaves your tongue tingling long after the cake is gone. In fact, you barely even notice the pepper in the first bite or two, and then the tingle begins. I find it enchanting, as did my colleagues.