Perhaps you have heard the seasonal music playing in stores around town and wondered how this momentous day seems to arrive earlier and earlier each year? Familiar smells of the season catch your notice as they waft through neighborhood kitchens. You then begin to realize, yup, its that time.
Yes, its National Bundt Day today which means that once again my clearly demented blog friend Mary (aka The Food Librarian ) is leading the annual charge to celebrate her favorite art form: The Bundt Cake. Mary’s devotion to this iconic round cake is certainly unrivaled, even if it does leave me shaking my head in wonderment at her energy levels. Each bundt season she offers up her bundts, 30 days in a row, culminating in the final day (today) when all her friends offer up their own bundts. It’s a regular bundt orgy.
Last year ‘s National Bundt Day post contained only a short footnote about about my grandmother’s bundt pan (the oldest pan I own) and how, despite it being one of those cheap supermarket pans made of a lightweight aluminum and showing sufficient signs of wear and tear, I will never get rid of it. Certainly she used a dozen or so during her lifetime. This one however, was the one she had at the end so, in my mind, she had it forever. I’m just too sentimental about it to get rid of it.
Grandmother’s handwritten recipe books were a tribute to the many friendships she forged throughout her lifetime. Just about all of her old lady friends I recall from my childhood are named throughout its food stained pages. These were the days when the best (or only) way to get delicious recipes was to simply to swap them with your friends — and swap she did! A lot. Each recipe is attributed to the friend who gave it to her by the renaming of the dish itself. A quick look through the book will net you such delights as “Persimmon Cookies Mary Alice”, “Lobster Bisque Babs”, and “Oysters Winifred”. Never included were any references to where Mary Alice, Babs, or Winifred’s recipe may have come from. Grandmother, I’m sure, didn’t care. (Bloggers take note.)
Not all recipes from her friends are even considered edible by today’s standards, or mine. “Meatloaf Billie” owed its secrets to a package of onion soup mix and a can of “Birdseye mixed vegetable medley”. “Beef Stroganoff Maudie” was just one of many delicacies featuring Cream of Mushroom soup. “Lobster Bisque Babs” combines three varieties of Campbell’s Soup before adding in some cooked lobster! She insisted it was quite enjoyable and one her most requested recipes, but I never let her prove it to me. Not one of these ever made it into my weekly rotation the way they did my grandmother’s.
“Bundt Cake Gladys”, however, well, this cake is another matter entirely.
As children we were hypnotized by its moist texture and sweet, pecan candy-like topping. Sure it had some bourbon in it (or rum) but not so much that Child Protective Services would need to get involved.Then, as adults we would be horrified and ashamed to learn our beloved Bundt Cake Gladys was nothing more than a doctored up yellow cake mix.
How horrible! How tacky to use a mix! How unhealthy! How… um, can I have another piece?
Yeah, we hated ourselves for loving it so much but our shame always took a backseat to a second piece. These days whenever I bring this to a family gathering we, with our discriminating tastes, will laugh and point to this odd throwback to another culinary time. And then devour it until it is gone.
One could easily take the time and calculate the recipe using scratch ingredients (it’s a basic chiffon cake), but why? If sentimentality counts for anything it extends to more than just the pan but also to the recipe itself and the hand scribbled note on it my grandmother left behind. The evidence of her longtime friendship with a grand women named Gladys.
Vanilla Bourbon Bundt Cake aka Bundt Cake Gladys
Be sure to mosey on to Mary’s blog, The Food Librarian , and check out the celebration that is National Bundt Day. (I’ll see you there ’cause I’m going to have to talk her out of that e gg nog bundt cake recipe she featured yesterday. OMG!)
What are you doing to celebrate National Bundt Day? Do you have any similar doctored up food recipes of yesteryear that you continue to enjoy today?
This is what you will need:
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 package (18 1/2 oz.) yellow cake mix
- 1 package (3/25 oz.) instant vanilla pudding and pie filling
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup light cooking oil.
- 1/2 cup bourbon (or rum)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 bourbon (or rum)
This is how you make it:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease the bundt pan and flour it.
- Sprinkle pecans evenly around the bottom of the pan.
- In a mixer with paddle attachment or with a hand mixer on low beat together the bake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, and bourbon until well mixed.
- Add eggs one at a time and mix well for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour batter over the pecans and smooth with a rubber spatula.
- Bake for one hour or when a sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Remove to a rack and let cool for 20 minutes before inverting on a rack to cool to room temperature before pouring on and basting with the glaze.
- To make the glaze melt butter slowly and then stir in water and sugar.
- Bring mixture to a boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour in bourbon and continue to stir until mixture settles and gets smooth.
- Pour over cake and baste it.
- Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.