Saturday, December 1, 2012

spiced sour cream bundt cake

Spiced Sour Cream Bundt Cake

December has arrived and along with it came snow. In just a few days time, everything has changed from dark and depressing to this magical, white wonderland. Now, piles and piles of pillowy snow decorate the nature, inviting to go out and play in the snow. (Although it's freezing right now, so you might want to think about that.) When there is snow, everything seems so much more enjoyable and it's easier to give in to the mood of the joyful season.

In our household, the Christmas season is restricted to December. While the rule applies to everything related to Christmas, Christmas songs are the biggest no-no. For years, this rule did not make any sense to me but I am starting to see the reasoning behind it. Waiting for the first of December makes the Christmas songs and decorations seem just so much more precious, and my heart is fully embracing the season through the days of December leading up to Christmas.

When December finally comes, Christmas baking takes over in the kitchen. Spices are prominent in the baking, and the comforting fragrance drifting from the kitchen makes everything better. There is always an overload of sweets; yet it fits so nicely the season that can be described as sweet as well. All those hours spent in the kitchen, surrounded by snow and darkness in the evenings, make me feel like I am capturing a moment of time, a stillness in the midst of the rush and the stress of the holidays.

Spiced Sour Cream Bundt Cake 2

This spiced cake is a traditional one in the Christmas time here in Finland. The spices come together wonderfully in this sweet, light cake. The cake tastes like gingerbread cookies (the Finnish ones, at least); so if you're feeling like eating some gingerbread cookies but don't feel like making a batch, this easy cake is a good option. I have yet to try but I think a simple powdered sugar glaze would work really well on this.

Spiced Sour Cream Bundt Cake
makes one cake

* Bitter orange peel is a traditional ingredient in Christmas foods in Finland and Sweden. It is used in, for example, gingerbread cookies and Glögg (mulled wine). I imagine bitter orange is difficult to find anywhere outside the Nordic countries so feel free to leave it out.

150g salted butter

200g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground bitter orange peel (optional) *
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
a good pinch of nutmeg

2 large eggs
225g sugar
200g sour cream or Crème fraîche

Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and flour a 6-cup Bundt Cake pan. In a small saucepan or microwave, melt the butter and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and spices. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the melted butter and sour cream. Fold in the flour mixture in a few batches, taking care not to overmix. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan. (The batter is rather thick, that's why it's better to spoon it.) Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool to room temperature before inverting. The cake tastes better the next day.

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