Orange Poppy Bundt Cake — Bake-Ahead Batches
A Bundt is the perfect cake to make when you want a beautiful showstopper without the fuss of frosting, layers or intricate decorations. It emerges from its namesake pan looking golden and gorgeous every time; a simple glaze makes the cake even more mouthwatering. But the key to a perfect Bundt is to make sure its interior is just as wonderful as the outside. With so little adornment, there are fewer ways to hide mistakes. Turns out, the secret to a light-textured, moist and flavorful cake is all in the mixing technique.
Well, to be specific, it’s all in the way you cream the butter and sugar. Sure, sweet butter, tangy buttermilk, fragrant orange zest and plenty of poppy seeds add deep flavor, but proper technique is the key to a fine, tender crumb.
Creaming the butter refers to the mixing of the butter and sugar, and it’s one of the most-important steps in cake making. A recipe will often instruct bakers to cream the butter and sugar for three to five minutes. That may seem like a long time, especially when the changes in the mixture are hard to see, but it is in fact important. Creaming the butter and sugar together actually aerates the batter. Properly aerated butter leads to a light and fluffy cake. (This becomes even more important when baking something like a pound cake, which doesn’t traditionally include chemical leaveners.) Just be sure to start with room-temperature butter and to scrape down the bowl occasionally.
Samantha Seneviratne is a New York-based writer, recipe developer and food stylist. She is the author of The New Sugar and Spice (Ten Speed Press), a baking cookbook combining family stories and food history with recipes that reimagine dessert as a more balanced mix of sugar and spice. Her second book, Gluten Free for Good (Clarkson Potter), comes out in August 2016. She blogs about dessert at Love, Cake.