This cake tested me a wee bit. The funny thing about recipe testing is that you never quite know which way it is going to go - sometimes I set out to make something I assume will need tweaking and nail it first try, other times I think I can quickly bring something together, like this cake, only to have it totally fail on me a whole bunch of times (6 to be exact). I love the process so much, but it is always good to remember that sometimes the things that seem the easiest are the ones which are going to trip you up the most!
I’m always so interested in the recipe testing process, so I thought I would share a little bit of it today! I started off knowing I wanted to make a raspberry bundt cake in this party pan, and that’s all I knew. My process was:
Start with a bundt version of a vanilla cake recipe of mine that used the reverse creaming method. Giant, giant fail. Cake looked fine, then collapsed in on itself. Giant mess. Abort mission.
Change direction completely. Go for a pound cake style bundt. Learn that pound cakes don’t have any leavening agent in them (we don’t have them in Nz!). Possibly densest cake I’ve ever made.
Figure If I add leavening agent into it, it will help lighten it up. Still super dense. Abort mission.
Go in another direction - adapting a loaf cake recipe of mine. Total flop. weird cooked parts and raw parts and a strange texture on the outside (super yum as a cake, clearly not meant to be a bundt).
Not quite abort mission, but change almost all the components of the loaf cake recipe, tweaking and tweaking. Comes out ok texture, but super bland and big holes on the outside.
Up the moisture, switch the milk to buttermilk, bang the shit out of the pan on the counter before it bakes. Ok, but kind of bland, texture is amazing.
Switch out some of the oil for butter and add in some lemon zest. Waaaay better - switching out the butter was just what I needed to do. Super happy with the outcome. Done!
And that’s how it went down! The resulting cake is, to me, perfect - it is a dense bundt cake (not pound cake dense but just the right texture), with a tender crumb from ricotta and oil, but some richness of flavour from vanilla bean and butter. I added in some almond meal to help elevate the flavour, and folded some raspberries through the batter, which I managed to get to stay very nicely distributed! I was initially going to give this a glaze, but after the final test came out as well as it did, all it really needs is a light dusting of powdered sugar.
After all those tests, the cake itself is actually super simple. It is a stir together situation - all you have to do is combine your wet ingredients (plus sugar), then whisk together your dry ingredients, add the two together, then fold in raspberries which have been dusted in a little flour to stop them sinking. It all then goes into a well sprayed bundt pan, and is baked off, before having a wee cool in the pan, then turned out and allowed to finish cooling. Bundt cakes are my favourite in that they are generally super easy to make, with the fancy details coming from the shape of the pan. This one will most definitely be on heavy rotation from now on.
A few wee tips:
The recipe here is by weight - if you bake by weight you won’t have to use a single measuring cup, as everything can be weighed directly into the bowl. The best.
I tossed the raspberries lightly with flour before incorporating them into the batter, to help prevent them from sinking.
I used fresh berries, but frozen would also definitely work - make sure that if they are frozen they get a good coating of the flour!
The trick to getting a bundt cake out cleanly comes down to a few factors. The first is a well greased pan - you can either grease and flour your pan (make sure you get in all the crevices), or you can use a baking spray with flour in it, which is my preferred method for a bundt. The second is the cooling time - 10 minutes is the sweet spot to allow the cake to pull away from the sides enough to release cleanly. Too soon and it may not hold its structure if it is too warm, and too long in the pan and you run the risk of it sticking. Set your timer for 10 as soon as the cake comes out of the oven!
The cake needs to be baked enough that it will not stick to the sides - make sure that a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean - I like to stick it in a few different spots just to check
Make sure your ingredients are nice and room temp before you bake the cake - I like to take mine out an hour or so before.
Raspberry Ricotta Bundt Cake
- Makes one Bundt Cake, 10 larger serves or 20 smaller serves -
Zest of 1 lemon
300g good quality ricotta, at room temperature
100g neutral oil
90g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
180g buttermilk, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
420g all-purpose flour
80g almond meal
1 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
250g raspberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen do not thaw)
- PROCESS -
Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Using your finger tips, rub the zest into the sugar until well incorporated.
Add the ricotta, oil, melted butter, vanilla bean paste, buttermilk, and eggs to the bowl, and whisk until well combined.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, salt, and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients, and mix until well combined, making sure to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl and ensure that there are not any wet spots. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Place the raspberries in the medium bowl, and gently toss with about 2 tsp of flour until coated. Add the flour coated raspberries to the mixture, holding back any excess flour that may be gathered at the bottom of the bowl. Carefully fold in using a rubber spatula, until evenly incorporated.
Spray a 10-cup bundt pan with baking spray with flour, or grease and flour well. Add the cake mixture to the bundt pan, smoothing down with a spoon or offset spatula. Tap the pan firmly about 10 times on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Place on a sheet pan.
Bake the bundt cake, on the sheet pan, for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack and allowing to cool completely.
Dust with powdered sugar and freeze dried raspberry powder to finish, if desired.
Store leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container.