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Eric Akis: Vanilla bundt cake a crowd-pleaser with summer berries

If you need an unpretentious, classic, everyone-will-enjoy dessert to bring to a potluck, family gathering or other get-together, you can't go wrong with a good bundt cake.
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Vanilla bundt cake dressed up with summer berries and a dollop of whipped cream. ERIC AKIS

If you need an unpretentious, classic, everyone-will-enjoy dessert to bring to a potluck, family gathering or other get-together, it is hard to go wrong with a good bundt cake. It’s sweet, dense and comforting and, if you flavour it with vanilla, as I did, you can plate and colourfully dress up wedges of the cake with summer berries and, for added richness, a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.

Another handy thing about a bundt cake is that you can bake it a day before serving it. Once baked and cooled, tightly wrap and keep at room temperature until ready to drizzle the cake with its vanilla-flavoured glaze and serve.

My vanilla bundt cake is rich with butter, sugar and eggs, but it’s a large cake, and those indulgent ingredients yield 16 servings. If that’s too many for you, any leftover cake could be cut into wedges, individually wrapped and frozen, at the ready to thaw and enjoy the next time you desire some.

If you don’t have the non-stick bundt cake pan required for the recipe, you’ll find them for sale at stores selling a good selection of kitchenware.

Vanilla Bundt Cake

Dense, sweet and inviting, vanilla-flavour bundt cake plated and served with summer berries and, if you must, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 50 to 55 minutes

Makes: 16 servings

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature and spreadable

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

6 large eggs

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

• vegetable oil spray

2 Tbsp water

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

2 or 3 pints fresh berries, whole or sliced, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or tayberries, or to taste

• whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Set out a 12-cup non-stick bundt cake pan. Place flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Place butter, granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (see Eric’s options). Beat until well combined and lightened in colour and texture. Scrape sides of the bowl and beat again.

Beat in three of the eggs, one at time. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and then beat in remaining three eggs, one at a time.

Beat in flour mixture, alternately with the milk, in three stages, until a smooth batter forms. Scrape sides of the bowl and beat a few seconds more.

Thoroughly grease the bundt cake pan with vegetable oil spray. Spoon and spread the batter into the pan. Bake in the centre of the oven 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently touched in the centre. Cool cake on a baking rack for 20 minutes, and then invert on to a cake plate. Let cake cool to room temperature.

To make glaze, place water and 1 tsp vanilla in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar. (Mixture should be thick, but still be something you can slowly drizzle on the cake.) Use a small spoon to drizzle the glaze on the cake, moving the spoon slowly back and forth as you do so. Let the glaze set 30 minutes, and then the cake is ready to cut, plate and serve with the berries and whipped cream or ice cream, if using.

Eric’s options: If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a sturdy, handheld electric mixer to make the cake batter.

eakis@timescolonist.com

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.