At first, I couldn't decide what to make. Cookies or brownies? Meh. Too ordinary. Cinnamon rolls for the morning after they arrive? Too risky; they could easily get tough overnight (cinnamon rolls are always better the first day). And then it struck me: Bundt cake! But not your average Bundt cake. I wanted something that could serve as dessert the night they arrive, and/or coffee cake for breakfast the next morning.
I've made cinnamon-spiked Bundt cake before, but I wanted to make this cake extra special and suitable as a gift. To do that, I started by adding a little more good-quality vanilla (truth be told, the vanilla bean fell out of the bottle and into the running mixer; oops). Then, I nestled semisweet chocolate morsels in the batter and put half of that batter into a Bundt pan. The next layer was a sweet and warm blend of sugar and cinnamon, followed by the rest of the batter. After the cake baked to perfection, I dusted it with powdered sugar. As you slice into the cake, sweet and wonderful layers of chocolate and cinnamon are revealed. It's divine.
Whether they serve it after a hearty cabin feast, or enjoy it dunked in coffee the next morning, I'm pretty sure they'll be laughing and sharing stories about their time in the woods.
For the cinnamon swirl:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and 1-1/2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Beat in the vanilla.
5. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well.
6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and mix until blended and smooth.
7. Beat in the cream cheese. Beat in another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Beat in the milk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until smooth and creamy. Fold in the chocolate chips.
8. Spoon half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.
9. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Mix well.
10. Pour the mixture evenly over the batter in the pan.
11. Spoon over the remaining batter and smooth the surface.
12. Bake for 8 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 35 to 40 more minutes, until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack.
13. Invert the cooled cake onto a cake plate and sift the confectioners’ sugar over top.
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