Thursday, February 18, 2010

I’ve Got a Bundt In The Oven

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Electrolux.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not going to ever win any baking contests. I consider myself a fairly accomplished cook — I can sauté and flambé my way through a dinner menu — but am flummoxed when it comes to desserts. I say if God intended people to bake He wouldn’t have invented frozen pound cake.

I have an especially contentious relationship with cake baking, but it’s not from a lack of trying. I remember the first cake that I truly aspired to make, a Martha Stewart fruit and cream concoction — two thin, fluffy white cakes layered with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries. Unfortunately my cakes were uneven and they crumbled before the first spoonful of whipped cream even touched them – I could almost see Martha coming at me with her antique rolling pin. That and the fact that I had no heirloom cake stand to put my cake on or New England cottage to photograph it in made the experience especially disappointing.

That was followed by years of failed cake making — cakes that rose unevenly or didn’t rise at all, cakes that stuck to the pan, cakes that broke apart and were passed on to unsuspecting guests as Mystery Trifle. And frosting them was the worst — if they did make it out of the pans alive I’d destroy them with my horrendous spatula skills. I once put an entire cake down the garbage disposal because it looked so horrible when I was done I didn’t want to insult the trashcan.

But then? I discovered this:

I had never considered baking a cake in a bundt pan for some reason. Bundt cakes weren’t real cakes because they weren’t layered and frosted. Bundt cakes were cheating, like using spaghetti sauce from a jar or only shaving your legs up to your calves (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those, especially if you’re pressed for time or wearing capris.) Bundt cakes were what old ladies brought to bake sales and were handed over with the words, “Aunt Helen gave me this recipe before she died. Now don’t forget to return my plate.”

But how wrong I was! I remember my first bundt cake, and how simple it was to use just one pan instead of two, and how easily it fell out of the pan with just a couple of knocks. And it looked so pretty, sitting on my platter like a beautiful flower. A beautiful flower that was in one piece and whose unveiling hadn’t been preceded by a string of curse words and the sound of cake pans slamming into the sink.

And with the hours I saved by not trying to frost it, I started to get creative. Most of the time it could be finished off with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar, but other times it deserved a little glaze or some chocolate chips sprinkled on top. I even got so giddy with my newfound cake expertise that I put candy corn and fake spiders on a Halloween bundt cake one year – although apparently the screams from a few of my daughter’s pre-school classmates were because of a fear of bugs and not for my baking prowess.

This is the only pan I use when I bake. It’s over ten years old and showing some wear and tear but it still turns out a perfect cake. My younger daughter loves to bake, and she’s been pressuring me to buy a new pan, one of those fancy ones shaped like a rose or a castle or a heart. I even saw one shaped like a football field, which to me seems totally wrong – isn’t that a little emasculatory? I say if you’re going to make your football field out of a bundt pan you may as well serve it with beer poured into an “I ♥ Oprah” mug.

Besides, I’m a little afraid that if I change pans my luck will change and I’ll go back to making those lopsided, unappetizing cakes of days past. So I’m going to keep on using my old trusty pan until I’m that old lady at the bake sale. Oh, and also? I hear Martha pays a fortune for these things at tag sales.


Craving cake now? How about decorating a virtual one for a good cause? Electrolux is teaming up with Kelly Ripa to support the fight against ovarian cancer. Kelly, a mom and busy talk-show host, is also the head of her kids’ school bake sale committee and is combining her love of baking with a cause that’s close to her heart: the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF).

Just visit
Kelly’s Cakery at to decorate and send a special virtual cake to a friend, family member or loved one and for every cake sent, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF. That’s as easy as making a bundt cake.

And wait — here’s the icing on the cake (sorry, I couldn’t resist): To help spread the word, everyone who sends a virtual cake will be automatically entered for a chance to win something unbelievably awesome to do some real baking in: a stylish new
Induction Range from Electrolux.

From what I hear, induction is the perfect way to melt chocolate and cook delicate foods and sauces. It’s more responsive than gas and best of all – it’s eco-friendly. To further support the cause,
Electrolux is donating $100 to OCRF for every new range sold this month. So get baking!

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