Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Have a special occasion coming up? Check out this fantastic bundt cake!

Okay... so next time I better be more specific when I talk about needing rain! Last night we had a wicked storm come through right as we sat down for dinner and when we went to take our first bite, the lights went out and stayed off until 4:30 this morning! We ended up with a few branches down, but nothing too serious - there was a reported tornado a couple counties away though! Our storm was more wind than rain, but at least the grass got wet!

I was a little worried that the power was not going to come back and we would have not been able to bake this Marble Bundt Cake for the weekly Wednesday Treat Day, but thankfully we were good to go!

This fairly basic cake gets a couple upgrades to pack the most flavor - the first comes from using a few generous spoonfuls of sour cream to give the cake an extremely moist and tender crumb. To push the cake out of the plain category, a portion of the batter is mixed with melted bittersweet chocolate to turn it a contrasting dark brown color - it is then mixed with a handful of white chocolate chips. The off-white batter is given some color with chunks of bittersweet chocolate - the two batters are then alternately placed in the bundt pan to give a stunning marble effect once cut. This very tall cake gets a rich golden crust on the outside once is it unveiled from the baking pan.

Marble Chocolate Vanilla Bundt CakeIt has a very tantalizing chocolate and vanilla type flavor that is heightened by the studded spots of white and bittersweet pieces inside. I thought about taking it over the top with a glaze, but when I took a nibble from an inconspicuous spot, I decided it would probably be a bit too much and would mask the already delicious taste it had.

Marble Chocolate Vanilla Bundt CakeMaybe a simple dusting of confectioners' sugar would do if you felt it would be too naked to serve alone. Bundt cakes are usually a little stress-causing... you just never know if the cake will pop out in one piece like it is supposed to or if it sadly comes out in chunky pieces. Luckily I've only had that happen once ages ago, but I still worry when it is time to flip the cake out!

Marble Chocolate Vanilla Bundt CakeSince we actually had this Broccoli Mac and Cheese Gratin last night, we'll be a day or so behind on dinner recipes this week.

While your basic everyday mac and cheese can certainly be comforting and tasty, it can also become a little boring if you make it the same way every time. To add some zip to tonight's dinner, fresh green broccoli with shredded fontina and Asiago cheeses brought a breath of fresh air into this creamy baked pasta dish.

To simplify the whole process and make for less dishes, we only used one pot and one baking dish for the recipe. Once a healthy dose of shell-shaped pasta and broccoli are cooked, a touch of olive oil and garlic are quickly heated to take the raw edge off. Since this is actually used at the end, it is scooped out and set aside. Next, onions are cooked in a bit more oil in the same pan - a combination of milk and flour are then added and brought to a boil to thicken the mixture. The sauce is then seasoned with fresh black pepper, salt, a touch of ground red pepper and a dash of fresh grated nutmeg for that little something special in the background. To add to the luscious and creamy texture, shredded fontina and Asiago cheeses are finally stirred in to melt into the sauce. The broccoli and shells go for a dip in the cheese sauce and are then placed in a large baking dish. Adding a little pizazz to an ordinary breadcrumb topping, crunchy panko breadcrumbs are whizzed in a food processor with the garlic and oil first to evenly incorporate the mixture. It is then scattered over the pasta and the dish is baked until the sauce is bubbly and the panko turns a splendid golden brown. You can serve it as soon as it comes out, however if you leave it be for 10 minutes, it can easily be cut into neat rectangles to portion out.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese Gratin


  1. That is a glorious bundt cake! I want that pan. Or the rose pan. I haven't decided yet.

  2. The cake is good but that mac and cheese has me drooling. A perfect meal for kids too.

  3. I love the look of the mac n' cheese. And that can't ain't too shabby lookin' either!

  4. I have been crazy for mac and cheese lately - I love the addition of broccoli!

  5. Now I know why I've been collecting Bundt pans! Great recipe.

  6. Emilie - Thanks! I've only got this one pan, but I do want more!

    Meeta - I hope you can try it out!

    Janet - Thanks!

    Deborah - it is an excellent pair, especially in this dish.

    Lydia - how many do you have?

  7. Joe, how many would be too many? I think I have 9 or 10, in different patterns.

  8. Joe,

    The mac 'n' cheese looks delicious with the addition of broccoli. After this lengthy heatwave we are having some rainy, cooler days. Some comfort food would fit the bill. Kudos!!

  9. The bundt cake looks gorgeous - thus far this type of baking has been a disaster for me though so I think I will give it a miss for now.

    I have always been mystified about what passes for mac and cheese in the UK and Ireland. It is quite literally just macaroni and cheese!

    When we make it at home (we are an Italian South African family) it is made one of two ways - always with the macaroni and a sauce of egg, milk and a little cheese then topped with savoury mince, sliced tomatoes and cheese or with bacon, sliced tomatoes and cheese - much more substantial!

  10. Lydia - Nah, I'd love to have more kinds myself!

    Margarita - I hope you enjoy!

    Rob - sounds much more decadent!

  11. Joe, that cake looks great! I was given a beautiful bundt pan (similar to yours), but I've only made one cake in it (german red wine choc cake) so far and was looking for other recipes.

  12. Nora - I love these pans... they are so fun and really add a flare to any kind of cake!