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Cinnamon Swirl Kuchen

  I actually remember waking up this morning, and I recalled my dream with supreme poignancy.

  I get some crazy dreams, but once in a while I'll have a particularly vivid one that will stay with me for the rest of the day.  No matter what I do, where I am, it's in my head until I manage sleep it away.

  That happened last night/today.  I tossed and turned, until finally I pulled myself out of it.  When I opened my eyes sunlight was streaming into my room.  I put my hand up and let the light fall across my arm.  For a few blissful seconds I was still dating a dream (quite literally, ha) boy, my dad's entire side of the family all lived together in this gorgeous forest- each of us with our own little cove.

  And my grandma was still alive.

  Reality came in a bittersweet wave, and threw me out of my ocean of fantasy.  For a good 30 minutes I let myself be a lifeless puddle.  But with a new day comes new duties, little as they may seem.  And it
all starts with getting your ass out of bed.

  With my baking goddess of a grandmother fresh on my mind, I guess it's only fitting that I should be writing about this bundt today.  Don't be intimidated by the kuchen part, it's just cake in German.  The little magazine scrap I got this recipe from was titled just so.  I tend to get so absorbed in blogs, pinterest, and the like that I almost forget about magazines and cookbooks.  Recipes are in more places than just the internet.

  Being that the magazine was all about Grandma food, you know this has got to be good.  The only change I made was to use buttermilk (always), all butter (screw you, shortening), a bit of nutmeg (for Grams), and a bundt pan in place of a tube pan.  Because, really, it's just that much prettier.  Plus, this was a lovely opportunity to use my Christmas present!

  A 12-cup Nordic Ware beauty.  I love it.

  I especially love it because my old pan was getting to be a piece of less than desirable material.  First of all, it was half the size of this one, so I had some major batter overflow issues.  And it had separation anxiety.  A bunked bundt is one of the worst things in the world.  So when I turned this one upside-down and the cake slipped out flawlessly, I really couldn't have been happier.  I kept running into the kitchen while I should have been doing Calculus, just to look at it.

  And the cake?  Oh my.  It's pretty much like pound cake, but with gooey cinnamon swirls.  I've been making it since way before my blogging days, and it's never disappointed.  Albeit the one time my evil bundt pan decided to turn it out in three different pieces (grrr...).

  It's tender, moist, and only gets better with age.  And that is precisely why I love bundt cakes.  Tea time, suppertime, lunchtime, breakfast...this is perfect for every and any occasion.

Cinnamon Swirl Kuchen
Yield: one bundt or 10-inch tube cake, about 16-20 servings

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 6- or 12-cup bundt pan, or a 10-inch tube pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and smooth.

Gradually add the 2 cups of sugar; cream until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine the buttermilk and vanilla, set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. (You may use a whisk instead.)

Alternately add the flour  mixture and buttermilk mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating in each addition until just combined.

Combine the 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons (1/2 tablespoon) of the cinnamon sugar mixture into the prepared bundt or tube pan.  Spread 1/3 of the batter into the pan and sprinkle with half of the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.  Top with another 1/3 of the cake batter, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, and then smooth on the last of the batter.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sources: adapted from Nancy Brown's contribution in Grandma's Great Desserts