Friday, February 28, 2014

Nordic Ware - My favourite pans!

Anyone who has read my posts knows that I love making bundt cakes.  They're usually a one bowl recipe, can feed a crowd, keep really well and you can make them in just about any flavour imaginable.  In truth, I love most recipes that just take one bowl, like loaf cakes too.

A few years ago I discovered the joy of Nordic Ware pans.  This company created the origianl bundt pan and they've taken their creations to wonderful heights.  The pans are usually quite expensive, but when I find them on sale I snap them up!  They come in "standard" designs and flights of fancy for every conceivable occasion and holiday.  They're coated with non-stick finishes, but I never use them unless they've been liberally sprayed with non-stick coating.  I don't want to risk a cake breaking up when it's inverted to cool.  I've amassed quite a nice collection of these now and these are some of my favourites.

This was my first one was a real steal at Williams-Sonoma - I found the pumpkin patch loaf pan one December for $9.99, reduced from around $48!

My former boss was always very generous with gift cards at Christmas, which is why I didn't worry about a sale when I picked up the castle pan.  Both the girls and the guys in our family get a kick out of this one and it's been used for quite a few birthdays.  It looks really cute with flags on the tops of the towers and I'm looking for some knights in armour and a little dragon to use one day. ;)

In December 2012, Marshall's had reduced all their holiday items drastically, so I couldn't leave this one in the store, could I?  I used it back in early December 2013 with my triple almond chocolate cake recipe and just dusted it with confectioner's sugar for serving.  Really fitting for the season and the cake was rich enough not to need anything else, plus the details showed up really well with white.

(All photos courtesy

The gingerbread cake with orange glaze was made in my most recent acqusition, the "Heritage" pan.  It made the most crisp, lovely edges on the bundt cake and, even though the cake was very tender, it removed from the pan absolutely cleanly.  You can see the results in my previous post and I know I'll be using that pan as one of my "regulars" in the future.

I highly recommend all of the Nordic Ware pans and don't expect to stop buying them any time soon!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Orange Glaze

This past December I was really looking forward to making gingerbread cookies again, but the ice storm had other plans.  I'll definitely be making them early this coming December!

When we had our belated not-Christmas family dinner in January, I decided I wanted to make something with gingerbread flavour and decided it would be a cake.  I didn't have any recipe on hand that I wanted to try, so I found a recipe on the Ziploc site.  Who knew you could find recipes on a packaging manufacturer's site, but it was tied into holiday foods, so I guess that makes sense.  I changed quite a lot about the recipe.  It called for a LOT of fresh, grated ginger which is a really strong flavour and one I knew I didn't want to overwhelm a baked cake with.  Cooking with fresh ginger is one thing - biting into raw pieces in a cake is one I didn't want to taste!

Here's my version:

Dry Mix:
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Wet Mix:
1-1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (I used light sugar, but either is fine)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (don't use olive, since it will affect the flavour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 large, room temp eggs
1 cup room temp water
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses (not blackstrap)

2 cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1/4 cup milk or orange juice - I used juice, for the concentrated flavour
grated zest from one orange, to decorate after glazing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 12 cup bundt pan with non-stick baking spray or butter and flour really well.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and all the spices.  Set aside.  In a stand mixer, combine the two sugars, baking soda, eggs, water, oil and molasses.  Make sure you measure the molasses *after* the oil, so it will easily slide out of the measuring cup completely.  I actually wondered why the baking soda was included in the wet ingredients, rather than the dry, but realized it's for the chemical action required to have the cake rise properly.  After the wet ingredients are completely mixed, add the dry mixture and mix well.  Make sure to scrape the bowl all the way to the bottom so everything is thoroughly combined.

This will be a very liquid bundt batter, unlike most bundt mixtures.  Because of this, after you pour the batter into the bundt pan, you will need to tap the pan several times on the counter to release any air bubbles.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer in the center comes out clean.  Although my oven runs hot, for this cake I actually did have to bake it for the full 50 minutes.

Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes before inverting and removing from pan.  Allow the cake to cool for 2 hours (no joke!), before glazing and decorating with the orange zest.

My family loved this!  I served it with whipped cream and they were happy to take leftovers with them after dinner.  It's another keeper that I'll make again next  year.