I love cake as much as the next person.
I wouldn’t dream of turning away a slice of devil’s food or a towering birthday cake decked out in buttercream. Hell, I’ll even admit to a love of the retro Midwestern cakes I grew up on, made with Cool Whip and Jell-O and a box of Betty Crocker. (If you’ve never tasted a poke cake, you need to add it to your bucket list.
But the sort of cake that really sets my heart aflutter is simpler--best suited to an afternoon cup of coffee or tea. Something nutty and subtly sweet with a dense crumb. Something like this Orange-Hazelnut Bundt Cake with Rum Glaze.
This understated little cake was the result of a copper bundt pan I found at E. Dehillerin in Paris, which turned out to be the perfect souvenir from my first culinary tour. Beautiful. Well-made. Very French. And a reminder of how life-changing that trip was every time I pull it from the shelf.
When I got it home, it occurred to me I’d never made a bundt cake before. I was fairly sure any cake could be baked in a bundt pan. But I thought my special pan deserved a special cake and set about finding just the right thing.
In the end, and as is so often the case, it was decided by what I had on hand that day. There were hazelnuts in the freezer and two oranges in the fridge. I decided that these flavors would be perfect with my afternoon coffee. And thus this cake was born.
Because it looked a little humble once turned out of the pan, and because I love boozy desserts, I added a rum glaze. Orange and rum go hand in hand. And the deep caramel notes of dark rum speak to the toasty-sweet flavor of hazelnuts.
This cake has become a personal favorite. It’s not as showy as some. Not as fancy as others. But it has everything I like in a cake. And it would please me immensely if you end up liking it, too. Let me know in the comments if you bake one up. And don't forget that cup of coffee or tea! With a slice of this cake you'll have a delicious and just-decadent-enough afternoon treat.
Orange-Hazelnut Bundt Cake with Rum Glaze
- 7 oz (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 10 oz (1 ⅔ cups)granulated sugar, divided
- Zest of 2 oranges, 4 teaspoons juice reserved for glaze
- 10 oz (1 ¾ cups) raw hazelnuts
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 ½ oz (¾ cup) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 ½ oz (about 1 cup) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons rum
*Notes: I used The Kraken black spiced rum. Any dark or spiced rum will work for the glaze. If you don't want to use rum, you can substitute more orange juice.
- These cakes will keep, tightly wrapped and stored at room temperature, for up to 3 days. I think they taste best on the second and third day.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour 1 large or 2 to 4 smaller bundt pans. Set aside.
Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed sheet pan and toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove the nuts from the pan and place them in the middle of a large kitchen towel. Bring the four corners of the towel towards each other and twist them together until you have securely enclosed the nuts in the towel. Vigorously rub the hazelnuts together inside the towel for a minute or so. When you open the towel most of the skins should have fallen off. Lift the nuts off the towel with a slotted spoon, leaving the skins behind and place them on a plate to cool. Set aside.
When the hazelnuts are completely cool, place them in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Process until the nuts are finely ground (about 1 minute), taking care not to let them turn into nut butter. Transfer the ground nuts to a large bowl and add the flour and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium high until pale and fluffy, a minute or two. Stir the zest into the rest of the sugar then add the sugar to the butter and continue to beat until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes longer, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the flour and nut mixture and beat at low speed until the ingredients are just barely combined, taking care to not overwork the batter. It will be quite thick.
Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pans and smooth the tops. Vigorously tap the filled pans on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place on a sheet pan and bake until the tops are golden brown, springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out with only a few crumbs, 45-55 minutes for one large cake and 40-50 minutes for smaller cakes. When in doubt, err on the side of slightly less done so the cakes will be moist. Remove the cakes from the oven and carefully invert the hot pans onto a wire cooling rack and slide the cakes out. Cool completely.
When the cakes are cool, mix the glaze. Sift the sugar into a small bowl to remove any lumps. Add the orange juice and rum. Whisk until smooth then immediately pour over the cakes. Allow the glaze to set before serving.
Makes one large or 2 to 4 smaller bundt cakes.
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi