Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

I’ve never made a cake specifically for St. Patrick’s Day before (normally I am making birthday cakes instead). I saw this recipe and thought it looked fun. I changed a few things (namely, no Lucky Charms marshmallows and I used my own glaze recipe), and I think if I were to make it again, I would experiment with changing a few more (maybe lemon flavoring instead of almond?), but overall, it turned out quite nicely. It’s similar to a pound cake:  dense, a bit dry, and a good vehicle for other flavors.

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This cake doesn’t take too long to put together, but it does take a long time to bake, so prepare to put aside a little over two hours total. A stand mixer would be helpful, as you will be dealing with a fair amount of batter in one bowl. As for the ingredients, if you can get it, use food coloring gel rather than drops, as the gel/paste is more concentrated and will give you a better color (I could only find the liquid coloring in my grocery store). Needless to say, dying the cake green is not essential to the cake being good, so if you are making this cake for an occasion other than St. Patrick’s and you do not want green swirls in your cake, just skip it.

An important note:  Don’t preheat the oven, as this cake goes straight into a cold oven and warms up along with the oven from there (which is part of why it takes so long to bake).

Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese
1 ¼ C butter
2 ½ C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
¼ C buttermilk
6 eggs
3 C flour
food coloring (your discretion)

Directions
1. Grease and flour a Bundt pan well. This is a vital step, as otherwise getting your cake out of a Bundt pan in one piece will be difficult.

2. In a large bowl, cream softened butter and cream cheese together until they are quite smooth and well combined. According to Chelsea in her post, if small lumps of cream cheese are left, the cake will not be able to bake evenly. The key to achieving smoothness here is to soften the butter and cream cheese sufficiently; I microwaved the butter for 15 seconds, added in the cream cheese, then microwaved for 10 seconds more, and it worked out quite well.

3. Add in the sugar and beat for another couple of minutes to achieve a fluffy, creamy mixture. Mix in the flavorings and buttermilk. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

4. Add in the flour. Remember, when mixing cakes, as soon as the flour enters the mix, you need to limit your mixing as much as possible, or the cake will be tougher and less crumbly. Sifting the flour beforehand will help eliminate lumps and make your batter smoother with less mixing.

5. Separate some of the batter (roughly a third) into a smaller bowl. Dye this smaller portion green. How much food coloring you wish to use is up to your discretion.

6. Alternate putting plain and green batter into the pan. My friend and I sort of dropped it in splotches. When all the batter is in the pan, take a knife or skewer and swirl it just a little bit to marble the two colors together.

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7. Place the cake in the cold oven, set a timer for an hour, and turn the oven on to 325ºF. Note that this means the preheat time is included in the total bake time, not separate. Check after an hour; give it 10-15 more minutes if needed. It should pass the clean toothpick test when it’s finished.

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8. Let the cake cool a few minutes before turning out of the pan onto a plate. Allow the cake to cool, and make the glaze. Drizzle glaze over finished, cooled cake, and serve.

Here’s the glaze recipe I used, reprinted from the Pear Spice Cake post:

Cream Cheese Frosting:  Soften (do NOT melt!) 3 TBS unsalted butter and 3 TBS cream cheese. Blend together. Add 1 ⅓ C powdered sugar, alternating with teaspoons of milk or cream, and mixing well between additions. Flavor with a splash of vanilla.

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