The Nordic Ware Square Bundt Lab

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

This story is underwritten by Nordic Ware.

Over the past year or so, we at the Heavy Table have been falling in love with the concept of “labs,” multi-person jam sessions revolving around an ingredient or a family of flavors or a particular entree. When we saw Nordic Ware’s new Bundt Squared Pans, we were struck with the potential to play around in the kitchen and bake up some new-wave cakes that take advantage of the pan’s stylish appearance and hefty capacity.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

For our Square Bundt Lab we gathered a couple of stalwart Heavy Table contributors (myself and Becca Dilley) and two local bakers whose work we know and respect: Eva Sabet (above left) from the Swedish Crown Bakery in Anoka and Emily Rheingans (above right) of Mon Petit Chéri in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.

After three or four hours of slaving away in a hot and impossibly fragrant kitchen, we had before us a forest of cakes ranging from a delicate Earl-Grey-infused Bundt to a double chocolate dreadnought. We’re excited about these recipes, and we hope you’ll give them a try – if you do, leave us a comment and let us know how they turned out. They should work in a regular bundt pan as well, although the capacity is slightly different (10 cups for square, 12 for normal.) Now: get baking!

horizontal_bundt-square-bannerNordic Ware, now in its 69th year, is a family-owned, American manufacturer of quality cookware, bakeware, microwave and barbecue products, and specialty kitchenware distributed worldwide. The Nordic Ware Factory Store is frequented by home cooks, chefs, and restaurant owners and hosts twice-monthly evening classes. 4925 Highway 7, St. Louis Park, 952.924.9672, www.nordicware.com.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

BITTERSWEET DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BUNDT

Baker: Emily Rheingans

Baker’s Notes: What can I say: I adore chocolate. One of the things that I love about it is the fact that you can create an incredible depth of flavor without cloying sweetness. That’s the case with this bittersweet double chocolate Bundt. It’s subtly sweet, as a good chocolate cake should be, but rich in flavor with the addition of melted bittersweet chocolate and strong coffee.

Cake:
1¼ cups brewed, medium-­dark-roast coffee
¾ cup Dutch process cocoa
2¼ cups sugar
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1¼ cups buttermilk

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar, whole eggs and yolk, canola oil, and vanilla extract.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together by hand the cocoa powder and the brewed coffee.

4. With the mixer running, slowly pour the coffee and cocoa liquid into the egg mixture.

5. Stop the mixer and add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until well combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.

6. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the buttermilk.

7. Pour the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake for 45­ to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Glaze:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped, or chips)
¾ cup butter
½ cup sour cream
2½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup brewed, medium­-dark-roast coffee

1. To make the glaze, melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a small saucepan on very low heat, making sure to stir frequently.

2. Pour the butter and melted chocolate into a bowl with the sour cream, and whisk until combined.

3. Add the powdered sugar and whisk again. Once combined, slowly add about ¼ cup of coffee, until the glaze reaches the desired sheen and consistency.

4. Pour the glaze over the cake as soon as the cake has been flipped from the pan.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

ALL-IN-ONE BUNDT CAKE WITH FRESH FRUIT

Baker: Eva Sabet

Baker’s Notes: We found this recipe when we were cooking at the Grass Roots Cooperative and we were looking for a great dessert. It is from a baker/cook in Sweden and her recipes always seem to be foolproof. So we tried it, we loved it, and so did the customers. What is so wonderful about this cake is that it can be made with any fruit or no fruit at all. The flavor combinations can be endless and what I like the most is that it goes quickly – everything into one bowl, and mix.

Cake:
11 ounces fresh strawberries, blackberries or raspberries
8.8 ounces butter at room temperature (preferably salted)
Zest from 2 lemons or limes
6 tablespoons lemon or lime juice fresh
6 eggs
16.9 ounces flour
1 cup milk, at room temperature
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
Butter and unsweetened, shredded coconut for the pan

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. Butter the Bundt pan and line the inside with the shredded coconut, shaking out any excess.

3. Clean the strawberries and cut them into quarters, or leave whole if very small.

4. Put all the ingredients except the fruit in the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

5. Pour the mixture into the pan. Distribute the fruit evenly over the top and press it down lightly into the batter.

6. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the cake is dry in the middle. Turn the cake upside down and let it cool before taking it out of the pan.

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ tablespoon lemon juice
¾ tablespoon elderflower syrup, or other fruit syrup.

1. Mix the glaze ingredients together while the cake is cooling. Spoon the glaze evenly over the cooled cake.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

BACON BREAKFAST BUNDT

Baker: James Norton

Baker’s Notes: With this Bundt, I was hoping to achieve something that had a profoundly “breakfast” feel — a slice of cake you could enjoy along with a cup of coffee in the morning. The key flavor combination here is pecan streusel with apple pieces and candied bacon: nutty meets smoky meets fruity meets brown sugar. The soulful smoke of the bacon finishes a sentence begun by the light flavor of apple, with the brown sugar serving as the bridge between the two thoughts.

Candied Bacon:
3 strips of thick-cut bacon
2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
Black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 325º F.

2. Season the bacon slices with black pepper, and toss them in a bowl with the brown sugar.

3. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or foil, and lay the bacon strips down. Sprinkle any remaining brown sugar onto the strips. Cover the bacon with another layer of parchment or foil, and nest another baking sheet atop the bacon to keep it flat as it cooks.

4. Place the sheets in the oven. After 20 minutes, check to see if the bacon is golden brown and fairly crisp. Give it another 5 to 10 minutes if it is not.

5. When the bacon is done, remove it to a plate or cutting board. Let it cool, and chop it into small pieces. Divide the pieces into two equal piles.

Streusel:
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar (dark preferred)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
Half of the candied bacon from the recipe above

1. In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and bacon.

2. Use a pastry blender to blend in the butter until the streusel reaches a pea-sized consistency.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Cake:
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
Half of the candied bacon from the recipe above
One large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix.

4. Whisk together the dry ingredients, the apple, and the candied bacon, and add to the butter mixture, stirring until just incorporated.

5. Sprinkle half the streusel into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour in half the batter. Sprinkle more streusel over the batter (you may have streusel left over; that’s OK). When sprinkling, keep the edges of the batter free of streusel so there is enough exposed batter to “seal” the cake so it doesn’t break in half at the streusel layer. Top with the rest of the batter.

6. Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes, until a skewer comes out mostly clean (check at about 45 minutes).

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

LEMON LAVENDER BUTTERMILK BUNDT

Baker: Emily Rheingans

Baker’s Notes: One of the things I love about Bundt cakes is that you get to let the cake speak for itself, as opposed to fancier cakes, where fillings and frostings are at the forefront. With a Bundt you want to focus on the flavor of the batter. For that reason, I wanted to do a light, flavorful cake that would be excellent for brunch or with a nice cup of coffee in the afternoon. Lemon works well in buttermilk batters, and lavender is an excellent addition because it smooths out the acidity of the lemon and adds a whole other dimension of flavor.

Cake:
½ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
21⁄2 cups sugar
Zest and Juice of 4 lemons
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons dried lavender
3 drops lavender oil (food grade)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2.Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and lemon zest and juice until the mixture is light and fluffy and all the lemon juice has been incorporated.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

5. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients.

6. Once the dry ingredients are incorporated, slowly pour the buttermilk into the batter. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and add the dried lavender and lavender oil, using a spatula to mix.

7. Pour the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan, and bake for 45­ to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 drop lavender oil

1. To make the glaze, zest and juice the lemons into a bowl.

2. Add the powdered sugar and mix. You may have to adjust quantities to get the desired consistency, depending on how juicy the lemons are. Once you’ve whisked everything together and achieved the desired consistency, add the lavender oil.

3. Flip the cake from the pan and drizzle the glaze on top.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

PEACH AND EARL GREY BUNDT CAKE

Baker: Eva Sabet

Baker’s Notes: This cake comes from one of our favorite Swedish baking books at our bakery. It’s a wonderful book, with successful recipes. This cake is very soft and airy. I was thinking of trying different flavor combinations that go with this airy cake and that would still be summery. Peach is still in season and we are crawling towards fall, so that is where the tea came into the picture. Then there is also the lovely top note of bergamot in the Earl Grey that goes so well with the fruity and fresh tasting peach. To me it is a lovely combination, that can proudly be served at a party.

Cake:
16 ounces fresh or canned peaches
8 ounces butter
5.3 ounces milk
13.2 ounces sugar
4 large eggs (or 5 small)
9.5 ounces flour
2 lemons, zested
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons high-quality Earl Grey tea, finely ground

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Butter and flour the pan. Shake out any excess flour.

3. Cut the peaches into 1-inch pieces and add the finely ground Earl Grey tea.

4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy

5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan. When melted, remove the pan from the burner, and add the milk and vanilla extract.

6. Add the warm milk mixture to the eggs while slowly mixing.

7. Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Add the flour to the egg and milk mixture while slowly mixing until any lumps are gone. Do not overmix. Fold in the peaches.

8. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cake is dry in the middle.

Sugar for topping:
1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
½ cup powdered sugar

1. In a food processor or blender, grind the flowers with the powdered sugar. Or grind the flowers in a clean coffee grinder with some of the sugar, and mix with the remaining sugar.

2. When the cake has cooled, powder it with the lavender sugar.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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5 Comments

  1. Liz Christiansen 08/20/2015 Reply

    Were sour cream and powdered sugar accidentally omitted from list of ingredients for the glaze recipe for the chocolate cake?

  2. When do you add the earl grey tea in the last recipe?

  3. Willow 11/19/2015 Reply

    Could you please share the name of the Swedish baker and the amazing Swedish recipe book you refer to in your post above? Thank you! And thanks for sharing so many recipes and the great photos.

  4. Carol B 02/02/2017 Reply

    Getting ready (at last) to bake the peach/Earl Grey tea cake. I don’t see when the lemon zest (and maybe juice) from the 2 lemons is added?? In answer to Amber’s question from 2 years ago. the tea is added to the peaches in step 3.

  5. Carol B. 02/05/2017 Reply

    Peach and Earl Grey Bundt Square came out very pretty – so good looking I did not glaze/dust with powder sugar. Peaches added color / texture but not much flavor and I’d omit next time, just make this as a Lemon & Earl Grey cake I mixed zest from 1 huge lemon with the sugar (kept the lemon juice for other use), waited a few minutes then added eggs. 2 T. tea is the contents of six tea bags. Cake baked 55 minutes.

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