Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas Spice Mini-bundt Cake

When I found a mini-bundt cake tin in one of the local charity shops, I couldn't wait to try it out, even though I didn't really need to bake. Fortunately both children were coming for a family birthday dinner, so I could rely on them to take home some of the leftovers, to make sure we weren't left with too much to eat.

As I already had a chocolate cake I decided to make something spicy, and thought it would be a good opportunity to try out my tub of Waitrose Signature Spice mix - a blend specially made for the supermarket, containing cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, star anise, black pepper, tangerine oil and cloves. Waitrose is using this spice mix in a lot of it's Christmas products, such as mincemeat, cakes and puddings, as well as selling it as a spice blend for cooking

An online search for something suitable brought me to Nigella Lawson's recipe for a Cider and 5-spice Bundt Cake, which is similar to a gingerbread cake but uses 5-spice powder and fresh ginger. By my calculations, my little bundt tin was a quarter of the volume of the one used in the recipe, but I decided to err on the side of caution and make 1/3 of the recipe quantity (especially as scaled down recipes are simpler if you don't need fractions of eggs).

The scaled down ingredients were: 60mls sunflower oil, 35g light muscovado sugar, 100g black treacle, 1 tablespoon ginger wine, 60mls milk, 1 large egg, 100g plain flour, 2/3 teaspoon baking powder, pinch bicarbonate of soda, 2 teaspons signature spice mix.

The recipe was simply a matter of mixing wet ingredients and sugar together, and combining this with the flour, spice and raising agents - similar to traditional gingerbread cake, but as you're using oil instead of butter, no melting is required. I decided not to open a bottle of cider just for 80mls, so replaced that with a tablespoon of ginger wine and 60mls milk. I left out the fresh ginger and replaced all the ground spices with 2 teaspoons of the Signature Spice mix. My mini version of the cake took 30 minutes to bake at 170C, and was just the right amount of mixture for the tin.

Bundt tins always fill me with trepidation when it comes to turning out the cooked cakes - I think it's recipes that are at fault, rather than my technique, since I work consistently (using cake release spray), yet some recipes always work, and some always fail at turning out cleanly. Fortunately this recipe was one that worked! I contemplated using a lemon glacé icing drizzled over the cake, but realised that I wouldn't get it photographed before it got too dark, if I waited for it to cool, so I dusted with icing sugar instead.

I really liked the Signature Spice mix used in this way. The flavour was still similar to a gingerbread cake, due to the main ingredients being cinnamon and ginger, but the cardamom, allspice, pepper and cloves gave a more complex peppery edge to the flavour, which was almost savoury, and the aroma was quite different too. The cake was moist and close textured without being too dense - and I'm really pleased to have found a good (gingerbread) recipe using oil instead of butter. I'm sure I'll be trying a full sized version of the recipe at some point.

The seasonal theme for Tea Time Treats for December is Sugar and Spice, so I'm entering this cake. Tea Time Treats is co-hosted by Jane at The Hedge Combers and Karen at Lavender and  Lovage, who is this month's host


Unknown said...

How cute is this cake? So lovely. I love that recipe too. I need to try some other bundt tins. Maybe Santa will bring one!

Snowy said...

That looks very Christmassy, Suelle, and what a great sized tin. Will buy some of Waitrose Signature spice mix, as I need to start thinking of Christmas baking!

Unknown said...

Love love love this cute little bundt that even with great spices x