Baker Matt Lewis; © Chris Court
In our December issue, baker Matt Lewis, co-owner of Brooklyn’s amazing Baked, talks about his Bundt cake obsession, and why the dessert is an excellent fit for the holidays. Bundts are versatile, essentially self-decorating (they require little adornment other than a dusting of confectioners’ sugar) and much easier to transport than frosting-covered cakes. They are also incredibly forgiving, something we learned in the F&W Test Kitchen while trying to troubleshoot a cake recipe for a different story. When we attempted to bake a Bundt recipe using loaf pans, the results—while delicious—had sunken tops that were just too sad-looking to serve.
But why would the different shape affect the final result? For guidance, we turned to Shirley O. Corriher’s indispensible and brilliant baking reference, BakeWise. Corriher writes, “With cakes, many times an overleavened recipe is baked in a Bundt or tube pan.… It doesn’t matter if the top of the [cake] in a Bundt or tube pan is slightly sunken, you’re going to turn it upside down. No one will ever know!”
Of course: Cakes baked in Bundt pans are served bottom-up, with the decorative molding from the pan on display. In our case, the recipe in question had too much baking soda, causing the cake to rise too quickly in the hot oven and then deflate as the fast-rising bubbles popped. We corrected the leavening to produce lovely little loaf cakes, but we also gained some admiration for the humble Bundt: From now on it’s our go-to pan for any delicious-but-cosmetically-challenged cake recipes.
Related: The Beauty of Bundt Cakes
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Courtesy of The City Bakery
One of the best hot chocolates in the country will soon be available nationwide. New York’s City Bakery has become famous for its dedication to hot chocolate: During its annual Hot Chocolate Festival in February, it offers different flavors (fresh ginger, bourbon) every day. But owner Maury Rubin’s classic version has the biggest cult following. Count F&W’s editor in chief, Dana Cowin, among the drink’s fervent devotees. “I will take a 40-minute trip downtown for this hot chocolate because it’s available nowhere else in the universe,” she says. That's about to change.
Here’s what you’ll find at event planner Bronson van Wyck’s seasonal pop-up shop, through January 3, inside Manhattan’s Overbey & Dunn design store (19 Christopher St.).
His garlands often feature magnolia leaves—some are gilded and others are flipped over to show the brown underside, a striking contrast to the dark-green leaves.
Bespoke Garlands and Wreaths
For customers who bring measurements, van Wyck’s shop will custom-make wreaths and garlands from magnolia leaves and other stunning foliage to fit individual spaces. From $300.
You can pick out a tree, then have it fitted with lights and hand-painted in amber by van Wyck’s staff. From $1,250.
Tablecloths and napkins, some patterned after the tartan plaid of van Wyck’s mother’s Scottish clan, can be monogrammed in the store while you wait. From $100.
Signature Dressings and Mixers
Van Wyck bottled three kinds of salad dressings (two vinaigrettes and a Caesar) and two mixers (Bloody Mary and margarita) and hired Brooklyn design firm Madwell to create the retro labels. They are available online at vanwyck.net.
Related: Editor Picks: Perfect Presents
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