I’m nibbling a slice of leftover birthday cake (Emmie’s lemon bundt) and getting my fill of Saveur‘s February issue “The Saveur 100: Home Cook Edition.” (I’ve earmarked half a dozen pages already: New oils to track down [La Tourangelle Roasted Pistachio], recipes to find [spicy Trinidadian chana], writing to read [that of author John Thorn].
Bundt cake is the unhip of cake, but it’s ok with that. It’s ever reliable and simple, hardly suggestive of fondant. I’ve mentioned once or thrice before that I’m not one for fluffy cakes, so perhaps that’s why I’m game to eat a rich slice of bundt, with its concentrated flavor and moist crumb.
And the bundt as a form is rooted in memory: Foremost, how as a kid I didn’t really prefer it because, frankly, it couldn’t hold its weight in frosting. But I also remember my mom’s black-coated bundt pan, and I remember that she made bundt cakes from time to time. That is reason enough to bake one.
Such culinary traditions are part of what Saveur is all about, but so is flexibility. As Nancy Harmon Jenkins writes: “If a dish calls for six cloves of garlic and you have only one, if the recipe requires a tablespoon of tomato paste and you’re all out, if you’re supposed to use lemon juice but you’ve got only oranges, you cook anyway, and you end up making something good.”
It’s how I worked this cake, with almond extract and a drop of Fiori di Sicilia instead of lemon extract.
I cooked anyway, and I ended up making something good enough that I’m forgoing a plate, fork in hand.