Let them eat cake (and give it to them, too)

By Alison Ladman

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 8 2011 1:21 p.m. MST

Small Bundt cakes are an easy and elegant gift to give. You can make them in a traditional metal pan, but also consider purchasing paper baking pans, which are designed to be both the baking pan and a decorative wrapper.

To use the paper pans, simply place them on a baking sheet and bake as normal. When completely cooled, wrap the item in plastic wrap or a clear bag tied with a bow.

We've offered a recipe for a cherry spice cake, but this technique will work for any recipe that's designed for a Bundt pan. Quick breads are another easy offering for paper baking pans, as they come in small loaf pans, as well as the ring-style pan.

CHERRY SPICE CAKE

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Makes four 8-by-2-inch ring cakes

For the streusel:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the cake:

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon dry ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup frozen cherries, thawed and drained

Heat the oven to 350. Coat four 8-by-2-inch ring cake pans (or two 8-inch Bundt pans) with baking spray. Arrange the pans on a baking sheet for stability and ease of moving to and from the oven.

To prepare the streusel, in a small bowl mix together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter, allowing clumps to form. If using metal Bundt pans, distribute the streusel mixture between the pans. If using paper baking pans, set the streusel aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, honey, molasses, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cardamom and vanilla. Mix in half of the buttermilk, then half of the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and repeat with the remaining buttermilk and flour.

Stir in the dried and thawed cherries. Divide the mixture between the prepared pans. If using the paper baking pans, sprinkle the reserved streusel on top of the batter.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. If using a metal pan, turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Will keep for 1 week.

Nutrition information per serving (based on 24 servings from 4 cakes, 6 servings per cake) (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 300 calories; 130 calories from fat (42 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 40 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber; 150 mg sodium.

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