It is officially cranberry season in the States! I feel bad for my American friends that live in Italy during this time of year because they usually have no luck in encountering fresh cranberries. I have had many a conversation with them wistfully saying, "What I would pay for a bag of fresh cranberries!". Even my mother-in-law is fascinated by them! When we were in Italy this summer, Teresa was showing off the dried cranberries that this lady was selling at her little health product kiosk this summer at the mall. She said, "Hai vista! C'e tutto in Italia! Anche i cranberries!". So, that means, "You see. Italy has everything! Even cranberries!" She was pretty proud at that moment, because I was sure I would never encounter any sort of cranberries in Italy. Just in case you were wondering, in Italy they're called Mirtilli Americano (American Blueberries). And, by the way, that cute little bag of dried cranberries they were selling at the Italian mall cost 10 Euros (which is about 11 dollars). Even though I had been in Italy already a month and wouldn't have minded a bite of one of my favorite healthy snacks, I would not spend that much on that little bag!
So back to the Bundt pan discussion! I suppose it's considered my lucky Bundt pan, because I have never had an issue with a cake sticking to it! I haven't had any major Bundt catastrophes, but little pieces that get caught in a nook. It's usually happened when I've baked with fruit, like an apple Bundt cake. It oozes and sticks to the side and I have to carefully scrape out an apple and piece it back into the cake.
Are you hesitant to bake a Bundt because it usually sticks to the grooves of the pan? I have read quite a few baking horror stories in baking groups where the baker has said her cake stuck to the sides of the Bundt pan. I know bakers that gave up on their pans because they flopped too many times. I have not noticed any difference in the volume in my cakes when I used baking spray, that is just my personal experience. I have also read a baker say in a message group that the spray cakes onto the pan and that could also cause your Bundt to stick. I've personally never had that baking issue. I wash my pan really well after I bake with it. I scrub around the nooks and crannies (I know, it's annoying to clean a Bundt pan!)I know how you feel! I have often used baking spray, but I have read that it affects the volume of your cake. I also have greased and floured my pan (with butter or shortening). But then I came across this handy dandy baking tip that truly makes a difference! You won't be holding your breath when you flip your pan to see if the cake is sticking or not...I promise!
What do I love about this cake? I love the tartness of the cranberries and the tender moistness of the cake! It's such a wonderful cake recipe that is moist from the Greek yogurt. It's not heavy from being filled with butter (not that there's any thing wrong with butter!). The cranberries give the perfect tart contrast to the cake. If you live somewhere where you can't find cranberries, you could sub a different filling (strawberries or blueberries would be perfect!). The only problem with this cake, according to my daughter, was that it needed more cranberries in the middle! When I added the first layer of cake batter, I started to spoon on the cranberries and I really wanted to make sure it didn't ooze into the sides of the pan as it was baking so there wouldn't be any sticky fruit that would stop the cake from popping out easily.
The perfect cake for the holidays that travels well and will also be enough for the biggest family get together! I added a very light sugar glaze, but you could make this cake even fancier and impressive with a thicker glaze!
Barley Malt Pull-Apart Loaves
Prep Time: approx 1 1/2 hours
Cook Time: about 15-18 minutes
Ingredients (12 rolls)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 envelope)
- 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons barley-malt syrup
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool, plus more for brushing
- Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl (I used the bowl of my mixer with the dough hook). Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 2 teaspoons malt syrup until smooth. Add in the flour, coarse salt, buttermilk, and 3 tablespoons butter. Mix the dough until combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bread board (or clean counter) and knead until smooth and elastic Shape the dough into a ball.
Place the dough right side down into a large, buttered (or oiled) bowl, then, turn right-side-up.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour. Remove the dough after the rising
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Punch down dough.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface. With floured hands, roll dough into a thick log. Cut into 12 equal pieces (my pieces weighed about 50 g each).
Brush a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with butter or line with parchment paper and then brush with butter.
One at a time, flatten each piece of dough, then fold edges toward the center, pressing to secure, until a smooth ball forms. Place dough balls in prepared baking pan, smooth side up (you should have 3 rows of 4 in a 9×9 pan). Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove plastic wrap; brush rolls with butter.
Whisk together remaining 1 tablespoon each malt syrup and butter in a small bowl; brush over top of dough (I added a little bit of water, as the malt syrup was too thick).Bake until puffed and golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. (If tops are browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Sprinkle with flaky salt. Serve warm.