i like big bundts!

pull out the turntable and cue up the sir mix-a-lot…sing a long if you can, “i like big bundts…”  no, i didn’t get that wrong.  this is all about the bundts, bundt cakes that is.  november 15 is national bundt day and every year, mary, the food librarian holds a bundt bake-athon.  in honor of the big day, i made a bundt shaped loaf of sweet potato monkey bread.  to see the round up of all the bakers who also baked a bundt in honor of national bundt cake day, click on this link to mary’s blog.

believe it or not, i actually used a recipe i found on pinterest.  shockingly, it actually worked!  of course, i made a few changes-had to make it mine.  tinkering with an untested recipe is risky.  generally, i fly by the seat of my pants and this time, i landed nicely.  to see the original recipe, click on this link.

sweet potato monkey bread
serves 10-12

1/2 cup buttermilk milk at room temperature
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted, divided
2/3 cup sweet potato puree
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 2/3-3 1/3 cups bread flour

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

in a large stand mixer with the dough hook, stir buttermilk, yeast and sugar together. let it sit for 5-10 minutes or until it is foamy.  divide the butter, 2 tablespoons and 4 tablespoons.  melt them separately. stir in salt, egg, 2 tablespoons of the butter, sweet potato puree, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and half the flour and mix. with mixer on, pour in remaining flour a tablespoon or two at a time until dough pulls away from the sides and is tacky but when touched, it doesn’t stick to your hands.  the dough may not need all of the flour, mine came pretty close to the full amount.  place the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise until double, about one hour.

grease a bundt or angel food cake pan with and set aside. punch down dough and place it on the work surface.  cut it into two equal portions.  roll each portion into a long snake, about 18″ long and about 1″ in diameter.   cut dough into 1″ sections and roll each piece into a ball.  in a small bowl, mix the dark brown sugar with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a bowl.  set up an assembly line by placing the bowls of cinnamon sugar and butter next to each other.  dip each piece in butter, then coat it with cinnamon sugar.  place each piece in the pan so that the pan is filled evenly.  sprinkle any leftover butter and cinnamon sugar over the top of the dough in the pan. cover pan with plastic wrap and either refrigerate it over night or let it rise until double, about one hour.

preheat the oven to 350.  bake until the top is nicely browned and the internal temperature of a section of dough (try to avoid the sugary parts) reaches about 200 degrees.  allow it to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, turn it out onto a serving platter and allow it to cool for another 20 minutes or so.  cut into wedges or pull it apart.  keep in mind that when hot out of the oven, the sugary parts are like molten lava!  let it cool before trying to eat it!!!

sweet potato-cinnamon swirl coffee cake

if you haven’t already figured it out, i have a thing for bundt cakes.  whether they are chocolate, loaded with spices or chock full of fruit, i love them.  more than likely, i just love the pans.  i don’t eat large quantities of the cakes-just slivers here and there.  but i do love hunting for bundt pans in the thrift stores and i have at least half a dozen different pans to choose from.

bundt cake recipes are generally pretty flexible and if you have one good one, you can easily turn it into a dozen great recipes.  this recipe would easily work with pumpkin or butternut squash.  it would also work with apples or pears that were chopped rather than pureed.  there’s a few to get you started, how many more can you think of?  trust me, i will do more than just think about it.

sweet potato-cinnamon swirl coffee cake
1 (10) cup bundt pan serving 12-16
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup baked and mashed sweet potato-nothing added to it
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder
1teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons pecan pieces, toasted and chopped small
1 teaspoon cinnamon

preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour the pan and set it aside.  in the bowl of a large food processor, combine the butter, sugar, sweet potato, salt and vanilla.  pulse to combine.  with the motor running, add the eggs, one at a time.  be sure to scrape the bowl at least once.  dump this mixture into a large mixing bowl.  place the flour, baking powder and pie spice into a sifter or a mesh strainer and sift it over the batter in the bowl.  fold the flour in a couple times, sprinkle the buttermilk over the surface and fold together until no streaks remain.  scrape 2/3 of the batter into the pan and smooth out the top.  in a small bowl, stir together the dark brown sugar, pecan pieces and the cinnamon.  spread it evenly over the top of the batter.  carefully top the ribbon with the remaining batter, smooth it out and bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  cool in the pan for about 15-20 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.