Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Cake Slice Bakers - Challenge 11- August 2011 - Monkey Bread.

Well my monkey bread is so called because it was made by my two wee monkeys.  What a fun recipe for the kids to do.  This recipe is Hungarian Coffee Cake also known as Monkey Bread from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman.  It is made by shaping the dough into small balls, rolling in cinnamon sugar then baking in a Bundt tin with sultanas and nuts and a caramel sauce.  Mmmmm.  The idea is to get a cake which pulls apart easily into individual balls.  The boys made this themselves with only a little supervision from me (and reading the recipe for them of course!) and they really enjoyed doing it.  We all loved the cake when it was done - beautiful cinnamon and caramel taste with lovely texture of the soft fruit and crunchy nuts.  It came out of the oven looking like a normal bundt cake but when you tried to pull it apart, it broke easily into lumps of cake more or less ball-shaped.

Recipe - 

Ingredients - 

For the topping-
1/2 cup (4oz/ 113g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup light brown sugar

For the cake - 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
9 tbsp (4.5 oz) unsalted butter, chilled (I tell you I will be glad to get back to a recipe book using metric weights - seriously who in their right mind would measure out butter using tablespoons???)
3 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk, plus more if necessary
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup raisins

Method - 
1. Make the topping: Whisk together the melted butter and light brown sugar.  Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease a non-stick 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour.
3. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a zipper-top bag.  Cut the butter into 1/4-inch dice.  Place the butter in a small bowl and set it in the freezer while you gather together the rest of the cake ingredients.
4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add the chilled butter pieces and, with an electric mixer, mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stri in the buttermilk until the mixture just comes together, adding an extra tbsp or two if the mixture is too dry.
5. Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to scoop up balls of dough and transfer them to the zipper-top bag.  Shake the bag to coat the balls with cinnamon sugar.
6. Place the coated balls of dough in the prepared pan, sprinkling walnuts and raisins over them as you go.  Pour the melted butter mixture over the cake.  Bake until the cake is firm and well risen and the caramel is melted, 35 to 40 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a serving platter and serve immediately.
7. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to a day.

So, we're coming to the end of baking from this book.  I have made 11 recipes from it.  I actually really like the book in that it has lots of good ideas.  Some of the recipes haven't been just right but they are the sorts of recipes that it will be fun to tweak about a bit to make perfect and choose your own variations.  On the other hand, some of the recipes I have loved as they stand.  So far, my favourites have been the cranberry cake and the orange-almond-caramel upside down cake.  There are so many more cakes I want to try from this book including apple and cheddar cheese cake, pear cake with sea-salt caramel sauce and red grape, polenta and olive oil cake.  Baking with the cake slice bakers has made me try lots of new types of cakes and, of course, I have made Bundt cakes for the first time.  I felt so grown up when I produced my cold-oven cream cheese pound cake as a beautiful Bundt cake.  I have also stuck mainly to the American measurements and used cups but have scribbled notes all over the book on what a stick of butter weighs, what the conversions from fahrenheit to centigrade are and I really hope that our next book has metric weights in it.  I just find weighing my ingredients to be so much more accurate and less messy.  Just what I am used to, I suppose.  Anyway, I have loved my first year as a cake slice baker and think that this was a really good choice of book for us to bake from.  It also inspired my lovely glass-domed cake keeper which I absolutely love and seeing it filled with cake, sitting out in the kitchen makes me smile.

See the cake slice bakers blogroll here


  1. I meant to say in my post that I thought the cake tasted like freshly baked doughnuts with the soft, yielding inside and crisp, sugary outside. Yum.

  2. That sounds gorgeous!! Your kids look like they're enjoying themselves too.
    You've inspired me to order the book.

  3. This looks like lots of fun. But do you think it would work in a normal tin? I don't have one of those polo-shaped ones. I've over-thought this (just a smidge) and wondered if a metal beaker in the middle of a normal cake tin would work as long as it was lined to stop the mix seeping under the beaker. Maybe when it's getting that complicated I'd be better off buying the proper tin...

  4. So cute that your two 'monkeys' helped with the cake. It looks great! Will be making mine later today...yours is an inspiration!!

  5. OMG - I LOVE monkey bread!!! It's one of my all-time favourite desserts :) <3

  6. Anna (Kitchen Table) - well, yes, I think it is a good book but a little flawed. Some of the recipes have been just not quite right. I found some of the timings to be a bit off too but everything has worked eventually if I remained flexible and just waited til it was done. Good luck. Will be good to compare notes.

    Anna (SacconeJoly) - wow - I have never had it before. Does your Mum make it? If so, can I have her recipe to try please? :-)

    Macaroon - The dough is like a scone dough so I imagine you would be fine without needing to do too much protecting against seepage although there is a bit of caramel sauce. I reckon it would be fine in a normal tin - might just need a little longer. A lot of the cake slice bakers have commented that they prefer a monkey bread that is yeasted so although I loved it, others who have had monkey bread before didn't think this was the best recipe.

    Elle - I'll be looking out for your version - hope you like it as much as I did.

  7. I want to try the apple cheddar cake as well as the lemon lavender pound cake and the Nutella pound cake. I just made the peach-buttermilk upside down cake this past week and it was a disappointment, as it was a little mushy and gummy :-( However, there were some good recipes from this book- the cranberry cake being a fave.

    I love that your kiddos made this recipe. They are precious in the kitchen!

  8. Your cake looks fabulous and I love how you made it with two monkeys :)
    Your cake looks wonderful, I tried to make mine gluten free but it didn't really work. I'll have to try it again as yours looks so good!

  9. Fantastic photos of the monkeys :-}}

    Your cake turned out beautifully - obviously the boys are as talented as their Mum.

  10. Looks like your two had lots of fun :) Cake looks great too, I wondered if it would pull apart into balls.

  11. Monica - I have my eye on the lavender one too but not sure where I would source it. used to have heaps in my old garden.

    Katie - gluten free is certainly a challenge. You have a good record, though, most of your cakes seem to work very well with you substitutions.

    BVG - Hee hee - just sounds like you are insulting my poor boys. ;-)

    Kelly-Jane - yes, it did even though it looked like a regular cake. I reckon it would be better if the balls kept their shape more so that guests would know it was a pull apart thing but it was fine when I explained it.

  12. Awww... So cute! And thar cake really does look like a fun family project!

  13. Hi there,

    I was going through your blog and found it so informative. I've been wanting to join the daring bakers kitchen but daunted by the thought of it coz everything looks super pretty and difficult.

    I also noticed that u are part fo the cake slice bakers and would absolutely love to join it. Can you please tell me how to go about it as I could not find the site to do so?


  14. Hi Rashi,
    We will be starting a new book for the Cake Slice Bakers in a couple of months so they might be recruiting new members soon although I am not sure. Katie from Apple&Spice runs it so get in touch with her and she'll let you know if you can join.

    We just choose a new cake recipe from the book we are using each month and make it. I do enjoy the Daring Bakers but you tend to get much bigger projects for that one - ones that seem a bit intimidating and usually take an entire weekend to put together. However, I have managed the past few months and have really enjoyed it. CSB is a little bit more laid back and with simpler challenges.


  15. The first time I made this cake my sauce was super clumpy/gritty, more of a paste. I remade this cake last weekend and melted the sauce in low heat and it turned out awesome! Your sauce looks so buttery! I remembered seeing your photo earlier when I remade it, just hoping it would turn out the same.