Whether secretly or overtly, everyone kind of likes to be wooed by another. It’s nice to be wanted, and it’s flattering that another person is willing to put the effort into trying to convince you to like him or her. The social dance performed during a typical courtship is entertaining to observers, riveting to friends whose advice is sought, and a source of great anxiety to participants.
However, wooing doesn’t always have to be romantic: it can be strictly platonic and still be cause for anxiousness. For example, if you’re buying a new car, what does the salesman do if not to try to politely (or, sometimes, not) persuade you that this car is absolutely perfect for you and that you’d look so good driving the more expensive convertible option? When a role changes actors (I’m looking at you, Doctor Who), the burden falls on the newbie to charm audiences into feeling comfortable with the transition and assured that it’s for the better. The woo-er knows that he has a lot to gain or lose depending on his performance and its reception by the woo-ee. The woo-ee knows this, too, and gets to feel extra special that it all rides on her decision. This is starting to sounds a bit like the plots of a number of reality TV competitions, but you get the idea.
In the baking world, it’s no secret that bundt cakes are constantly wanting be wooed. Wooed out of their pans, that is. It’s a source of great frustration and aggravation amongst so, so many bakers when you put so much hard work into the preparation of a bundt cake, only to have it rip apart when you try to get it out of the pan. It’s a cruel joke on the part of your cake. Sure, it’ll still taste the same, but it’s not nearly as pretty. So, it needs to be wooed. Don’t pressure it; just be patient and give it time to cool down. It’s been in that hot oven for what felt like ages, and it needs to unwind. When suitable time has passed (for the cake, not for you), ever so gently, flip the pan over. Don’t beat it (that would be mean); just let it wiggle its way out in its own good time. And… done. Your wooing efforts have paid off in the form of one whole, unbroken bundt cake. Well done.
Mini Banana-Maple Bundt
Adapted from The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook
Makes 2-3 miniature bundt cakes
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1/8 tsp. baking soda
2 egg whites, beaten until fluffy
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbs. vegetable or canola oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
2 tsp. orange zest (optional)
To Make the Bundt Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the two egg whites until fluffy. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, vanilla extract, oil, maple syrup, buttermilk, and orange zest if using. Mix until well combined.
In a third mixing bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour all of the wet ingredients except for the beaten egg whites into the well. Use a spatula to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Gently fold in the egg whites and, if using, chopped nuts.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan, and fill the pan to about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and an inserted tooth pick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack. Allow the bundt to cool for at least 20 minutes before inverting. Be patient, and allow the cake to work its way out on its own. Garnish with a light dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!