I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I just started watching the Great British Baking show, and I’m absolutely enamored with it. I’m on collection 3, and it’s down to just 4 contestants. Eeek! Who’s going to win?? It’s not only the perfect escape from this wild and crazy world we’re living in, but it’s educational and inspiring, too. After every episode, I want to bake something. And bake something, I did!
I was after more of a signature bake and not a showstopper, so I stopped to think about all of the many possible options. I was looking through my kitchen, and came across a 6-cup Bundt pan I inherited from a friend and knew immediately what I wanted to make. I should mention that I have a bit of PTSD from baking in a Bundt pan. The last time I did so, the cake stuck like glue despite the thick layer of nonstick spray that was coating the pan. I was willing to take my chances and try again, though.
The dessert I decided to make is a very simple-yet-scrumptious apple cake. Every time I make it, everyone always raves about it being so moist and flavorful. It really can’t be beat. What makes it so moist you ask? It’s an oil-based cake. Don’t get me wrong… I love butter as much as the next person, and many cake recipes use butter as the main fat component because butter tastes amazing, but oil-based cakes, from my experience, tend to be more moist in texture.
Oil is 100% fat, and most butter contains only 80% fat. The other 20% is made up of water and milk solids, which is great when making pie dough and homemade puff pastry to get those light and flaky layers, but the water in the butter can sometimes create a cake texture that’s just not as tender as an oil-based cake. I have definitely found this to be the case when I make chocolate cupcakes. My oil-based recipe is always moister and more tender than my butter-based recipe. I’m still going to make butter cakes because they are delicious, but oil-based recipes certainly have their place in my baking world.
What kind of oil should you use for your cake? I go with a very neutral oil such as grapeseed, canola or vegetable oil.
Another case for making oil-based cakes, is that they are simpler to assemble. You can usually make the cake using one bowl, there’s no waiting for the butter to soften and there’s no creaming of the butter and sugar, which means less dishes.
Keep in mind that swapping out the butter for oil in your favorite cake recipe is going to require some testing on your part. It may not necessarily be an even swap, so look online and find some tried and true oil-based cakes for maximum success.
Autumn Apple-Orange Bundt Cake
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: One 6-cup Bundt cake; 6-8 servings
Active time: 25 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Nonstick cooking spray or butter for the pan
For the cake:
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 orange, zested
1 large apple (2 cups), small dice
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and rough chopped or raisins (both optional)
For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously spray or butter the inside of your Bundt pan, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and sugar until smooth.
3. In separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture, and mix well. Fold in the vanilla, orange zest and apples, and walnuts or raisins if using. The batter will be thick, but that’s ok.
4. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
5. Bake until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes. The top should also spring back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool just a bit.
6. While the cake is still warm, invert onto a platter and allow to cool completely.
7. While the cake cools, make the glaze. In a medium-size bowl, measure together the powdered sugar, milk and lemon juice. Whisk together to form a smooth glaze that is thick enough to slowly run down the sides of the cake. Adjust the consistency as necessary.
8. Once the cake has cooled completely, spoon the glaze on top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Note: Don’t worry if some of the glaze pools in the center and around the sides of the cake. That’s the best part!
9. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature.
10. Cut the cake into slices and serve.
Watch our Chopping Block chef prepare a delicious oil-based apple, oat and nut bread during our Virtual Customer Appreciation Day event on Saturday, November 5th from 10-11:30am. We have two other sessions throughout the day featuring different menus for all of your holiday needs. By signing up for these demos, you are showing support for our small business to continue to bring the joy of cooking to home cooks, both virtually all over the world and in Chicago. We hope to see you then!