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A&E >  Food

This simple pecan bundt cake is moist and full of flavor

Pecan bundt cake adapted from “Life Is What You Bake It,” the debut cookbook by Vallery Lomas.  (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
Pecan bundt cake adapted from “Life Is What You Bake It,” the debut cookbook by Vallery Lomas. (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
By Aaron Hutcherson Washington Post

This bundt cake recipe comes from Vallery Lomas’ debut cookbook, “Life Is What You Bake It” and “has a tight crumb, like a pound cake, but it’s moist and full of flavor from the pineapple and nuts,” she writes.

Contributing to that flavor is the brown sugar – light or dark, allowing you to control the amount of molasses – that gets creamed with room temperature butter at the start of this recipe. What follows is a straightforward set of instructions that even the most novice baker can follow.

Once baked and unmolded, the cake has an unassuming exterior, but upon slicing into it, you see that it’s studded with toasted pecans (a nod to Lomas’ Louisiana upbringing), golden raisins and crushed pineapple, lending bits of crunch and chew to the tender cake.

I served it to friends at my latest book club gathering in an effort to cut down on leftovers and save freezer space. They didn’t think much of it when it first arrived on the table, with its lack of frosting or even a dusting of powdered sugar. But after slicing into it and taking that first bite, we were reminded not to judge a book by its cover.

This cake is more than the sum of its parts and doesn’t need any sort of adornment – it’s perfect just the way it is.

Pecan Bundt Cake

Nonstick baking spray with flour

2 cups roughly chopped pecan pieces

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon fine salt

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1½ cups packed light or dark brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup canned crushed pineapple in juice

½ cup golden raisins

Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with baking spray.

In a dry medium skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans, tossing frequently, until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board to cool, then finely chop.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a large bowl and a handheld mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure the mixture is evenly creamed.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding the next, about 2 minutes total. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and after the last egg is added, add the vanilla.

Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined (the batter will be quite thick). Stop the mixer and stir in the pecans, pineapple and raisins by hand until evenly distributed, making sure no streaks of flour remain.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes, until a cake tester inserted deep into the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the pan to release the cake, and let it cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 14 servings

Storage: The cake can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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