Salted Caramel and Pecan Bundt cake

This is honestly the best cake I’ve ever made.  

It had me at the tin.  A beautiful bundt tin from NordicWare promises a cake of real beauty.  But the cake more than lives up to the hype - and bundt (or kugelhopf as they're also known) are pretty hot right now.  Nigella's just done one.  But this is the one for me, now and forever.  

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Ingredients

  • 400g light brown soft sugar
  • Zest of 2 medium oranges 
  • 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300ml buttermilk (I didn’t have any in, and nothing was going to stop me making this, so I used 290ml whole milk mixed with 10ml lemon juice)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  •  2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g pecans, chopped roughly
  • Maldon salt (a good pinch to sprinkle on the cake at the end)

For the caramel sauce - you could buy one but making it isn’t difficult - honest

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g golden syrup
  • 125ml double cream

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/Gas 3.

In a free-standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy.  You can do this by hand but to be honest my biceps simply aren’t up to it. 

In a separate bowl or jug, mix together the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk (or ‘lemonmilk’ as the case may be).  Mixing continuously, add to the sugar and butter until fully blended together. 

Next add in the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon, and mix slowly until everything is well incorporated.  Then fold in the pecan nuts.  

Prepare your bundt tin by greasing it well with butter.  I used softened butter, but you could also use a pastry brush and melted butter.  The main thing that every recipe I read stressed was to do this well - otherwise your bundt won’t come out of the mould - and that would be a tragedy.  

Spoon the mixture into your cake mould and bake for 60–75 minutes (60 for my fan oven).  The usual ‘skewer inserted into the centre of the cake coming out clean’ applies.   Another tip I garnered in my hours of drooling over bundt recipes, was to let the cake cool in the tin for at least half an hour before turning out.  This helps the cake to develop a gorgeous chewy crust that is simply heavenly. 

Once the cake is out of the oven, make your caramel sauce.  Add the butter, sugar and golden syrup to a saucepan, and over a medium-high heat melt them together for 3-5 minutes until golden.  At this point add the cream, turn down to a medium heat and stir continuously for a couple of minutes until caramel-coloured and syrupy.  Take it off the heat. 

Pour over a few spoonfuls of caramel sauce (save some for people to spoon over their own slices should they wish to).  Sprinkle the bundt with Maldon salt.

Stare for a bit at your creation.

I wouldn’t say that you’ll exactly want to share this cake - but you will want to brag about it.  The cake serves at least 12 so perhaps invite them over the first time.  The second time you may just want to keep it all to yourself.