Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thunderstorm Bundt Cake

Firstly let me say that this is not just a vanilla chocolate marble cake as you would think by the picture.  Do not let it fool you, it is actually a strawberry chocolate marble cake.  No pink, because I chose no artificial color.

For some time I have been struggling with achieving a natural fruit flavored cake batter.  Yes, you can use citrus all day long, but outside of that it is difficult.  I have tried concentrated juices, boiling down juice and using extracts but I still continued to look.  I got a little closer by finding a natural fruit extract but was not completely there yet.  Now I am happy that I have found the answer in a combination of two things: natural fruit extract as well as freeze dried fruit powder.  This really does open the door to creating some more exotic cakes.  I even saw freeze dried gooseberry powder!

I think that the swirling of this cake is about like a swirl of dark clouds of an impending thunderstorm.  I was tempted to say "Perfect Storm" because I was so delighted at the flavor of this cake, but I chose something that was a little bit more humble.

I could have colored the strawberry batter for appearance purposes, but decided to decline.  It may not look so striking but I am happy that the natural flavors are there and that is enough for me! The texture is very moist and the strawberry chocolate combo not only tastes good but I can actually smell the strawberries as well as the chocolate in this cake.  I am hooked.

Now before we get to the recipe, I do have some shout outs as follows:

Balvinder or Neetu at  Gluten Free Food-thanks for passing along the ABC award to me.  Neetu is one of the bloggers I met early on and she really has shown me that gluten free does not mean that you are deprived of great taste.  I really liked her post on Mexican Brownies as well as Meatball pizzas.

Carmen of Carmen's Kitchen-thanks for passing along the Happy Blogger Award.  Carmen started her blog in 2011 very nervous about being the head cook and a newlywed.  However, I have come to realize she had nothing to be worried about.  Her blog really showcases how versatile she is in the kitchen.  I loved her post on Hello Kitty Cake pops as well as the Miso Katsu Burger.  Also, she has some sweet support from the hubby, who always puts in a word or two after eating.

Kim at A Little Lunch -thanks for the sweet rich chocolate clusters!  I had the luck to win her giveaway and her springtime looking package arrived quickly.  The quality of the clusters she sent is just amazing and a little goes a long way.  I already rolled out an introduction recently, but I just have to say that this candy is reflective of just what a sweet blogger she is!

Take some time and pop in to meet these bloggers if you haven't already!

Thunderstorm Bundt Cake
by Flourtrader 

3 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs plus 1 tsp freeze dried strawberry powder
1/8 tsp natural strawberry flavor
1 1/2 tsp dutch cocoa powder (more for dusting pan)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 8 oz chopped chocolate
1 cup or 2 sticks butter, room temp (more for greasing pan)
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups cream fraiche
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 12 cup bundt pan by greasing all the interior with melted butter.  Then sift some dutch cocoa in the pan and roll the pan making sure that all the interior is dusted with cocoa.  Set aside.

Set up a double boiler and fill the top pan with the chocolate.  Let the water simmer in the bottom pan and melt the chocolate in the top.  Stir occasionally.  Once all is melted and smooth, add the cocoa and stir until dissolved.  Remove pan from heat.

In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Set aside.  Then fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter and sugar.  Cream mixture together by beating on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  It should turn light and fluffy.

Add one egg and beat for 30 seconds.  Continue with the process, adding one egg at at time.  Then beat in the vanilla extract and the vegetable oil.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the batter until incorporated.  Stir in 1/2 of the cream fraiche.  Mix in the next 1/3 of the sifted ingredients, then the rest of the cream fraiche.  Lastly fold in the remaining sifted ingredients.  Mixture should be a pretty thick batter.

Transfer 1/2 of the batter to another bowl.  Fold in the chocolate mixture in one 1/2 of the batter until smooth.  Then set aside.  For the remaining plain batter, add the freeze dried strawberry powder and the strawberry extract.  Stir until all strawberry ingredients are distributed evenly throughout the batter.

Most bakers have their preference of marbling technique, but here is mine.  Using an ice cream scoop take scoops of the strawberry batter and place them side by side in the bottom of the pan.  Then clean scoop and drop scoops of chocolate batter on top where the sides of the previous scoops meet.  After that, stack alternate layers of flavor scoops on top of each other around the inside of the pan.

Then place pan in oven to bake until tester comes out clean and cake is done.  This should take about 1 hour.  Remove pan and place on rack.  Let cool for 30 minutes before inverting onto cake plate.  Cool completely before slicing and serving.
                      **LAST YEAR:Toasted Coconut Bars**