I like to think I'm an unconventional kind of gal. After all, I work as a painter for a living. I cut my own hair over the bathroom sink. I used to wear safety pins as earrings (yeah, it was an ill-advised phase in high school; I thought they looked wicked rad), and I've been known to make jewelry out of paper and feathers as well. I am what I think you'd call a 'fearless eater,' and there is almost no recipe on Earth that I won't at least try (unless it comes from the kitchen of Paula Deen, that woman terrifies me). But I must be more conventional than I realized, because as it turns out, I love to make Bundt cakes. Like, love it. There's something so satisfyingly structural about them, so finished from the moment they pop out of the pan. They're almost architectural, like desserts handsculpted by Buckminster Fuller (Google him, non-architecture nerds). And nine times out of ten, they need no more dressing to their curvaceous rounds and grooves than a simple dusting of powdered sugar, or the lightest back-and-forth drizzle of glaze. Oh yes. I like big Bundts (and ridiculously obvious blog post titles) indeed! So call me conventional.
Being the conventional, good wife-type that I am, as well as the recent recipient of a brand-new shiny Bundt pan (hooray for wedding showers!), I graciously and magnanimously allowed Mike to choose the flavor of our next Bundt. After all, I've put the man through so many of my kitchen phases in which I've been borderline-obsessed with learning to make my own bread or pasta or hot sauce or dumplings and nothing else, or the few months in which all I wanted to eat was hazelnut brown butter cake. Not wanting to be a kitchen dictator, I handed over the reins, and after a few minutes on Tastespotting (it's dangerous to linger there any longer) the verdict was in: Tiramisu Bundt Cake.
And look how pretty it is! David Bowie, Yoda and Peter Falk certainly seem to think so, anyway (there's a tantalizing peek into our weird, colorful little kitchen world for you). All golden brown, shapely perfection. Let's admire it for a moment, shall we?
Yes, yes, it's very pretty. But do you remember what I said before, the thing about nine out of ten Bundts requiring no further gussying-up than the lightest touch of powdered sugar or glaze? Well forget that, because this is the exception and I am about to cover this mother in a generous amount of boozy sweet mascarpone cheese--it is 'tiramisu' cake, after all! Farewell, glorious curves! It's for the greater good.
A slice of the finished product, in luscious detail.
It really looks more like an overgrown donut at this point than either a classic Bundt or a tiramisu, but hey. When there's this much creamy cheese, strong coffee and sweet sweet liqueur involved, how much do looks really matter?
Here's the verdict on the recipe: it's good. I love this particular combination of flavors, and I especially love the trick of separating this into three batches of batter (an espresso, a Kahlua, and a plain vanilla batter) and then marbling them together in the pan. It's pretty, and more reminiscent of a layered tiramisu than a cake that combined them into one homogenized mass would be. What I didn't love was the texture; even though I was warned by the original blog entry that this cake was a dense one, more like pound cake than classic vanilla sponge, I still wasn't quite prepared. We loved the taste but were hard pressed to eat more than a tiny slice each (although I have to admit to eating a slice right out of my hand the next morning with my coffee). Maybe I just prefer my desserts a little lighter in texture? Then again, a lighter cake might not be able to stand up to such a rich, heavy icing. More delicious research is obviously necessary!
Tiramisu Bundt Cake (adapted from original post here at Baking Bites)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup espresso (if you are fancy......lacking a home espresso maker, I substituted the same amount of my usual, superstrong, morning French press brew)
1/4 cup Kahlua
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and lightly flour your Bundt pan. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking power and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and milk to the egg mixture, a little at a time and alternating between each, mixing just until everything is incorporated.
Remove 1 cup of the batter into a small bowl. Remove another cup of batter into a second small bowl. Add espresso to one of the small bowls and whisk until well-combined. Add Kahlua to the second small bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour half of the plain batter into the Bundt pan and spread into an even layer. Pour the Kahlua batter into an even layer on top of the plain batter. Pour espresso batter on top of Kahlua batter. The flavored batters will be slightly thinner, and may spread into one another, but this will create a pretty 'marble cake' effect. Resist the temptation to mix or stir them. Carefully pour all remaining plain vanilla batter into the Bundt pan.
Bake 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan for 15-20 minutes, then turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Kahlua Mascarpone Frosting
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
4-oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup Kahlua
2 cups confectioners sugar
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat at medium-high speed until very smooth and fluffy. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to apply the frosting to the cake in a thick, even layer. This frosting is pretty boozy, hopefully that's your cup of tea. It didn't stop me from eating a slice for breakfast the next morning, as I mentioned, but you might not want to take all your cues from me. I'm unconventional. ;)