A simple/pretty maple bundt recipe for mud/sugaring season
Gesine Bullock-Prado's new book is a love letter to Vermont
Gesine Bullock-Prado, that woman who can do just about anything and make us want to do those things too, has a new book: My Vermont Table. It’s part memoir, part an ode to the wonders of Vermont and very much a cookbook. A really good cookbook. Its publication date is March 14, which would make it a Pisces, but in Vermont, it would be a child of the Mud/Sugaring Season, that time between winter and spring when the snows thaw, the roads become almost impassable and the grand consolation is the sap that runs from the maple trees. It’s when sugaring begins and maple syrup is made. It’s a hard season, but a joyous one, and there’s a whole chapter of exuberantly maple-y recipes to celebrate it. The chapter even includes instructions for Sugaring — Gesine calls it “a brave little recipe” because it takes a lot to do it (there are only a few of these in the book) — and a recipe for making your own maple syrup. And yes, there’s a recipe for pancakes to pour the syrup over.
I made Gesine’s Maple Bundt, a model of simplicity and goodness. Scroll down for the recipe.
Recipes That Are Sweet and Savory and Spread Over the Seasons
As you look at the book’s photographs — they’re gorgeous and they were all shot by Gesine’s husband, Raymond Prado — you get a sense of how glorious life on the Bullock-Prado farm must be in every season. The landscape is stunning, the pet goose is adorable, the kitchen is a joy — you may already know it from Gesine’s classes or Food Network show — and the food is just what you’d hope it would be: beautiful and real. It’s homey and comforting. It’s never fussy. I’d call it grabbable because you see each dish and just want to grab it - a bad idea for the Goulash-ish or the Vermont Cheddar Soup or the Crispy Roast Potatoes, although I’d risk burned fingers for those.
It’s a soup-to-nuts cookbook (take a look at those Sugar and Spice Almonds) — a popcorn book too (I can’t wait to make the Spicy Maple Kettle Corn). And, of course, it’s a baking book.
Most of us know Gesine best for her wonderful sweet recipes, and there are plenty of those. I’ve already put stickers on the Maple Tuiles and the Hoppy Peach Ice Cream, the Chocolate-Toffee Meringue Cookies, the Brown Bread in a Can (I haven’t had that in ages!), the Apple Cider Doughnuts and counting.
Give the Maple Bundt a go and give three cheers for mud season! As a Nutmegger (that’s what those of us who live in Connecticut are called), I never thought I’d celebrate this, but Gesine got me excited about what my own table might look like while I wait for spring to show up.
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GOOD TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START
The pan: Gesine suggests that you use a decorative Bundt pan for “pizazz” and to “spray the pan incredibly well with nonstick baking spray to ensure that the cake easily releases from the mold.” I used my new Bundt pan for the cake, sprayed it and had no problems.
The flour: Gesine uses King Arthur All-Purpose Flour and her measurements are: 1 cup = 120 grams all-purpose flour. If you have a scale, please use it and follow Gesine’s metric measurements. (My standard cup measure is 1 cup = 136 grams, but I always follow the metric measures in any cookbook. I measured out the 300 grams of King Arthur All-Purpose Flour that Gesine specified and got a perfect cake!)
The glaze: The recipe makes enough glaze to coat the entire cake. If you want just a drizzle, halve the recipe.
For the cake
Nonstick baking spray
1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour (Gesine uses King Arthur), see above
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (156 g) pure maple syrup
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (113 g) whole milk
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
For the maple glaze
2 cups (227 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream
MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (see above). Set aside.
Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and continue to cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl every now and again, until the mixture is light and fluffy. This can take 5 to 10 minutes.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Transfer the flour mixture to a piece of parchment. [You’ll use the parchment as a funnel to stream the dry ingredients into the batter.]
Add the maple syrup to the butter mixture and mix well. Add the eggs, one at time, mixing until each egg is completely incorporated and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add half the flour mixture and mix, then the milk and maple extract, and mix until incorporated. Add the remaining flour and mix until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
Place the Bundt pan on a baking sheet and bake until the cake springs back when gently poked, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
MAKE THE MAPLE GLAZE: Mix together the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and 2 tablespoons of the cream in a small bowl until smooth. Add more cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to thin the glaze to your desired consistency. Once the cake is completely cooled, place onto a serving platter and pour the glaze over the top.
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