I panic when summer approaches. The New York City heat and humidity . . . just gets to me—but not for just the usual sizzling sidewalks and sweaty subway reasons.
Shades cover the apartment windows when the sun is aimed to raise the room temperature, and fans hum until air conditioning is absolutely necessary. but I have to bake strategically. I don’t want to turn on the oven and produce even more heat.
It’s hard enough to bake desserts, schedule my photo snapping to avoid the rainy days, and fit everything into my daily schedule. The balancing act can be tedious, but I truly enjoy blogging. It’s therapy with the bonus of a sweet reward.
As much as I love large cakes with creamy icing, I tend to go small and make easier desserts during summer, such as Orange-Black Sesame Bundt Cakes. These tiny cakes store beautifully and are easy to transport for any weekend get-togethers, picnics, or treats at the beach.
Orange-Black Sesame Bundt Cakes
yield Eight mini-bundt cakes or 16 teeny-tiny bundt cakes
1-3/4 cups (8-3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/3 cup black sesame seeds 12 tablespoons (6 ounces/1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter 2 teaspoons orange zest, freshly grated 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar 2 large eggs, room temperature Orange Syrup, recipe to follow Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Spray 2 6-count mini bundt cake pan with cooking spray and dust with flour. Tap out excess and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together, set aside. 2. In a medium sauce pan, toast sesame seeds over low heat until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted, remove from heat and stir in orange zest and vanilla paste. Pour mixture into a 4-cup measuring cup and cool to room temperature. Whisk in yogurt until combined. 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until light in color, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with yogurt mixture (in 2 additions), until barely combine. Remove bowl and finish mixing by hand with a rubber spatula. 4. Spoon batter evenly into prepared baking pans, about 3/4 full, bake until cakes are golden brown, toothpick inserted into cakes comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Using a toothpick, poke several holes all over the top of the cake. Slowly spoon a small amount of syrup over the cake. Let set for a few minutes and repeat until you use up all the syrup. 5. Allow cake to cool completely in pan for at least 1 hour. Turn the cakes out onto a serving platter, dust with confectioners’ sugar (if use) and serve. cakes can be stored in air-tight containers for up to 2 days.
3/4 cup fresh orange juice 1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar 3 tablespoons salted butter 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or triple sec
1. In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, add orange juice, sugar and butter; stir to combine and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and stir in Grand Marnier. Keep warm until ready to use.