“A party without cake is just a meeting.” This quote from beloved chef and author, Julia Child, is spot on. There are times when the comfort of a hot biscuit, a gooey melting cookie or a warm, thick slice of the potluck staple, Bundt cake, is a necessity. After all, what is a birthday or celebration without cake? It’s sad, that is what it is. And thanks to cookbook authors like Jerrelle Guy, indulging in our need for something warm and sweet from the oven, doesn’t have to sidetrack our health.
In her debut cookbook, Black Girl Baking, Guy shares recipes for sweet-treat favorites while still relying on wholesome ingredients. Her fresh food blog Chocolate for Basil documents the food scholar and award-winning photographer’s healthy relationship with food. But growing up, Jerrell was faced with unhealthy food choices including those of the fast and processed variety, which led her to struggle with her weight. She regained her power over food when she began cooking for herself using fresh, natural ingredients.
Jerrelle decided to apply what she learned about healthy cooking to her baking. And believe me when I tell you, this girl can bake, delivering Peaches and Cream Cake, Break N’ Drop Chile Chocolate Chip Cookies and Sticky Maple Mini Cakes that deserve a place in any fine pastry display case. But let’s talk about her recipe for Butter Pecan Bundt Cake. It’s vegan and made with whole wheat flour yet it is still as decadent and impressive as the original. The applesauce keeps the cake moist and the pecan glaze drips with the sweetness of maple syrup and rum. Make this cake for your next celebration. I made it to celebrate a Saturday!
Butter Pecan Bundt Cake
Vegan ♦ Whole Wheat ♦ Makes One 9-Inch (23-cm) Bundt Cake
I love staring at the curves of a Bundt cake. I guess it’s the way the pan holds and distributes heat that makes these cakes turn out so moist and tender. Slowly drizzling a silky glaze or caramel sauce over the top and watching it inch down the edges and arches, making the cake glisten, is so sensual. I can’t help but stare.
1 cup (145 g) chopped pecans halves
2½ cups (300 g) white whole wheat flour
4 tsp (12 g) baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup (235 ml) oat or nut milk, at room temperature
1 tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup (225 g) softened unsalted, dairy-free butter
1 cup (200 g) pure cane sugar
1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 tsp rum (optional)
½ cup (120 g) applesauce, at room temperature
½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup
1 cup (225 g) muscovado or packed brown sugar
½ cup (120 ml) oat or nut milk
1 tbsp (15 ml) rum
1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or gas mark 4). Oil a 9-inch (23-cm) Bundt cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. To make the cake, toast the pecans by spreading them out on a sheet pan and baking them for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned. Remove from the oven and set them aside to cool until it’s time to make the pecan glaze.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, combine the milk and apple cider vinegar. Set it aside to curdle, about 5 minutes.
5. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beater as you go.
6. Add the vanilla and rum, if using. Slowly add the applesauce, beating on medium-high speed, until the applesauce is completely mixed in. Turn the speed to low and add the flour mixture in batches, alternating with the milk and vinegar mixture, until everything is just combined.
7. Pour the batter into the oiled Bundt pan, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow it to cool slightly for 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a serving tray while you make the glaze.
8. To make the glaze, in a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, muscovado, milk, rum, vanilla and salt and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and allow it to cook until it’s reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
9. Add the toasted nuts, stirring to combine, then remove the sauce from the heat. Allow it to cool slightly so it thickens, then pour it over the cake when you’re ready to serve.
Reprinted with permission from Black Girl Baking by Jerrelle Guy, Page Street Publishing Co. © 2018.
Photo credit: Jerrelle Guy