.................. bundt cake to the rescue!!!! I'm honestly not much of a cake decorator .......... I think the prettiest cake I ever made was this one - but even this one, had to be dolled up a bit with flowers to make it extra special. And I have to tell you, I slaved over it for longer than I care to share.
I'd love to learn to become a pro in this area, but it's on a long list of "would love-to's". If you're looking for tutorials on making really beautiful, fancy cakes check out this site. I also found this fabulous series of videos showing step-by-step layer-cake instructions and loaded with a ton of wonderful tips.
In the meantime, I can whip up a bundt cake in no time flat, drizzle it with icing, stick a tiny vase in the center and check out in my yard for something fun and fresh to dress up what can be a rather boring, everyday-looking cake.
Just for fun, I checked Google Images for "bundt cakes" - this is what I found................. now don't get me wrong, most of them are quite nice looking but not many spectacular cakes. That's because a bundt cake is .............. well ............... just a bundt cake; pretty plain-Jane on it's own............ but with a few sprigs and perhaps some fun candy, you too can have a beautiful cake for Easter, Mother's Day, graduations or any of the special events that are coming up!
Blackberry-Studded Lemon Pound Cake w/ Lemony Drizzle
1 ½ cups frozen blackberries
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
½ cup solid shortening (like Crisco, do not substitute more butter for the shortening - this is what makes the pound cake so moist!)
1 cup milk (I usually use skim because that is what we have in the house)
2 teaspoons vanilla
zest of two lemons
5 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1. Place frozen blackberries (do not unthaw) in a medium size zippered plastic bag. They should fit in a single layer. With a meat mallet, heavy pan or rolling pin, smash berries to small pieces. Place bag in freezer while preparing cake batter. (If you let berries unthaw, your batter will turn purple instead of having lovely blackberry "dots".)
2. Preheat oven to 325˚ F. Grease your bundt or tube pan very well. I use a baking spray like Baker's Joy, rub it into all the grooves with a paper towel and then spray lightly one more time - it is a sad day when your pound cake sticks to the pan 🙁
3. Place (in this order) flour, sugar, butter, shortening, milk, vanilla, zest, eggs, salt, and baking powder in bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at low speed (#1 on Kitchenaid mixer) for exactly one minute. (I use a timer.) Scrape down sides of bowl and then beat at medium speed for two minutes (#6 on a Kitchenaid mixer).
4. Gently fold in the frozen raspberries and pour into the prepared bundt pan.
5. Bake at 325˚ F. for 1 hour and 10-20 minutes or until a long toothpick or skewer gently inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (I usually set my timer for 50 minutes and check - if cake is getting too brown, I cover with foil for the remaining time.)
6. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Flip from pan onto cooling rack and cool completely, then place on your favorite cake stand or platter.
7. Drizzle with icing - I usually do this in 2 steps; with a spoon, I slowly drizzle icing back and forth (from outer edges to the center) over the cake, allowing icing to pool a bit on the cake plate. I use about ½ of the icing for this first step. I then allow the icing to harden for about 30 minutes and then repeat the process building up the layers and texture. If icing has gotten too thick during the 30 minutes, just pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Sometimes it gets too thick while I'm drizzling it and I do this same microwave trick.
8. For decorating, I like to place a small vase or glass in the center of the cake. Add a bit of water and some pretty flowers or greenery. I like to repeat the greenery at the base of the cake. Candy can also be scattered at the base of the cake or the center can be filled with fun candy in pretty colors.
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons half and half
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
Combine softened cream cheese and butter. Mix with a whisk until smooth and well combined. Add lemon juice and half and half and mix again. Add powdered sugar and mix vigorously until smooth. If mixture is too thick to drizzle add a bit more lemon juice or half and half.