Bundt cakes of today come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. But the original idea came from a European cake called Gugelhupf which was popular among the Jewish communities in Austria, Poland and Germany. In the northern parts of Germany the cake was traditionally known as Bundkuchen. Kuchen is easy enough to explain because it simply means cake. The origins for the word Bund however are not so clear. Because the traditional Bund pans had a funnel like hole in the middle it could be that the Bund described how the cake mixture was bunched around the central funnel. A second explanation is that the fluted sides of the pan created a shape that was similar to how wheat is bundled together after harvest to form a wheatsheaf. I must say I much prefer the third option. That Bund translates as a group or band of people. It’s heart-warming to think that these Bund cakes were baked for special occasions when you had to feed a crowd. Because that’s what Bundt cake is to me. Baking a big old cake to feed your friends and family. And whether it’s on special occasions or even just for a chat and a cuppa. It’s that sense of togetherness where everyone reaps the rewards.
The word streusel comes from the German verb “streuen” which means to scatter or sprinkle. It’s also the origin of the English word strewn. So a streusel when used in baking is just a crumble-like mixture that is thrown randomly over your cake mixture. The quickest and most basic recipes are made by cutting together flour, sugar and butter. This simple streusel is mostly used in things like American style coffee cakes, muffins or pies where it is usually sprinkled over the top of a cake to form a crisp crust during baking. Though there is nothing to stop you adding in nuts, spices, chocolate, dried fruit and many other ingredients to increase the variety depending on the type of cake you are making. These more elaborate types of streusel can be used as a topping too. But there are lots of recipes where the streusel is layered into the cake itself. So that as the cake rises in the oven the streusel mixture forms into decorative and flavour-packed ribbons throughout the cake. Fancy!
Here, there and everywhere.
To be fair – the streusel for this Bundt cake didn’t quite work in the way it was supposed to. I think the recipe may have been a little ambitious. It was trying to do two separate jobs and managed to do neither as well as it should. Half of the mixture was supposed to be layered in the middle of the cake. Although this portion of the streusel melted away in the heat of the oven, that wasn’t exactly too bad of a thing. There were no distinct ribbons on show but the flavour from the sliced almonds and marzipan meant that every bite you took from the cake tasted amazing. And the oats made sure that the cake was lovely and moist for several days afterwards. The only disappointment really was the streusel scattered over the top of the cake just before it went into the oven. I still don’t quite understand what it was there for. The marzipan and almonds started to char a little during baking. It mostly didn’t stick to the cake at all. And when it came to turning the cake out after baking all the hot and crispy bits were sent flying. My kitchen floor looked like it had been pebble dashed.
A tin to bake it in.
This recipe produces quite a whopper of a cake. So you really need to be using a cake tin that has a 12 cup capacity. I’d had a stroke of luck a couple of weeks before. I noticed that TK Maxx had been selling Nordic Ware. And not only that. They seemed to be flogging it off at half the price of other stockists. Having managed to pick up the Nordic Ware Tiered Heart Bundt Tin for £18 I decided it would be perfect for this. I’ve written the recipe exactly as I found it below but there is one simple change you could make that would improve the cake no end. Don’t be wasting half of the streusel by scattering it over the top of the cake batter. You would be much better off putting two layers of streusel INSIDE the cake instead. So you would make five layers – cake batter, streusel, cake batter, streusel and end with a layer of cake batter. That way all the almondy goodness will be absorbed into the cake. You won’t be finding unexpected nuggets of toasted marzipan hiding under the washing machine for several weeks afterwards. And your finished bake won’t feel as though it was thrown together from an idea that was all over the place. Now here’s that recipe… Enjoy.
Marzipan Streusel Bundt.
- 150g Marzipan (finely diced).
- 50g Rolled Oats.
- 30g Plain Flour.
- 30g Granulated Sugar.
- 30g Flaked Almonds.
- 390g Plain Flour.
- 1½ tsp Baking Powder.
- 1½ tsp Bicarb.
- ¼ tsp Salt.
- 300g Granulated Sugar.
- 160g Margarine.
- 3 Large Eggs.
- 1½ tsp Vanilla Extract.
- ½ tsp Almond Extract.
- 330g Greek Yoghurt.
- Up to 50g Icing Sugar.
- Position a shelf in the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3. Lightly coat a 12 cup Bundt tin with cake release. (I used the Nordic Ware Tiered Heart).
- In your stand mixer and using the paddle attachment – beat together the marzipan, oats, flour and granulated sugar until well mixed and crumbly.
- Transfer to a clean bowl and stir in the flaked almonds. Set aside in the fridge for later.
- Stir together the plain flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Set aside.
- In your stand mixer and using the paddle attachment – beat together the sugar, margarine, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract on a medium speed until smooth. This should take no longer than 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.
- Add the flour and yoghurt alternately, beating on a low speed until barely combined each time. (Flour, yoghurt, flour, yoghurt and ending with flour).
- Increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. No more than 1 to 2 minutes.
- Spoon just under two-thirds of the cake mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Scatter half the streusel evenly over the top.
- Spoon the remaining cake mixture into the tin and level the surface.
- Scatter over the remaining streusel. Gently press the streusel into the cake mixture.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the cake is nicely risen and golden brown. The cake should be pulling away from the sides of the tin a little. (Mine took 1 hour 20 minutes).
- Cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before carefully turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Dust lightly with icing sugar just before serving.