Bundt cakes have captivated bakers for generations, ever since the Minneapolis-based Nordic Ware company began crafting its signature pans in the 1950s.
However, the crowd-pleasing creations here are anything but a nostalgia trip. With these mold-breaking recipes, they’re the shape of things to come.
Like quick breads, these glorious cakes entice anytime; they’re just as much a hit at brunch as with an afternoon tea — or in this case, chai. This cardamom-scented sunburst gets a double dose of an orange-liqueur-spiked syrup: It’s soaked into the bottom via skewer-poked holes, and brushed on top to harden into a fine, crackly glaze.
For the cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
½ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon grated orange zest, plus ½ cup fresh juice (from 2 oranges)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1¼ teaspoons ground cardamom
1½ cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla paste or extract
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
½ cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or triple sec
ž cup sugar
CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 10-to-15-cup Bundt pan with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a small bowl, stir together milk and orange juice. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom to thoroughly combine. Beat butter with sugar and orange zest on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk mixture, each in two additions. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top with a spatula.
Bake until cake is puffed slightly and a wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes (do not turn off oven).
GLAZE: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook butter over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove from heat; carefully add liqueur (mixture will bubble). When bubbles subside, stir in sugar. Return to medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Pierce holes in cake with skewer at 1-inch intervals to bottom of pan. Brush half of glaze evenly over cake; let stand until fully absorbed, about 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a baking sheet. Brush remaining glaze evenly over top and sides. Return to oven and bake just until glaze is set and dry, about 5 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving. Glazed cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Active time: 35 minutes; total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes, plus cooling. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Mini but mighty, these rich, Middle Eastern-inspired rings are made with half flour, half ground pistachios (for the best taste and a vivid-green color, use the blanched Sicilian kind), and flavored with pistachio extract and aromatic orange-flower water. Chopped nuts and rose petals, the classic toppings on a Persian love cake, are optional but undeniably fetching.
MINI PISTACHIO BUNDTS
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk, room temperature
¼ cup whole milk, room temperature
¼ teaspoon pure pistachio or almond extract
¼ teaspoon orange-flower water (optional)
¾ cup Sicilian pistachios, or blanched and peeled shelled pistachios, plus more, coarsely chopped, for serving (optional, see note)
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Orange-flower-water glaze (see additional recipe)
Dried rose petals, for serving (optional; available at kalustyans.com)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees with a rack in center. Brush the hollows of a mini Bundt pan with butter. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together egg and yolk, milk, nut extract and orange-flower water.
Pulse pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. Add powdered sugar; pulse to combine. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat on low speed to combine. Continue beating while gradually adding butter until mixture is crumbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add half of milk mixture; increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add remaining milk mixture and beat, scraping down bowl as needed, until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
Divide batter evenly among hollows of prepared pan (using a piping bag fitted with a coupler or a plain large tip makes neat work of this). Bake until tops are light golden and spring back when lightly touched, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Cakes can be stored unglazed, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature up to 2 days.)
Spoon glaze over tops of cakes, allowing it to drip down sides. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and rose petals; let stand until set, about 30 minutes.
NOTE: To blanch pistachios, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add pistachios and return to a boil; drain. Rub skins to remove. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and let dry completely, at least eight hours, or dry in a 200 degrees oven for one to two hours.
Active time: 35 minutes; total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, plus cooling and setting. Makes 6 cakes.
1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon orange-flower water
Whisk milk into sugar until mixture has the consistency of thick white glue. Stir in orange-flower water. Glaze can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for as long as 1 week.
Active/total time: 5 minutes. Makes enough for 6 mini Bundt cakes.