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Kiss My Bundt: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bakery

Kiss My Bundt: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bakery

by Chrysta Wilson, Amy Reiley (Editor)

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Featuring more than 60 made-from-scratch recipes, this guide provides instruction to re-create the award-winning cakes from the Kiss My Bundt bakery in Los Angeles. Including recipes for champagne celebration cake, sour cream pound cake, lemon basil bundt, bacon cake with bacon sprinkles, and many vegan recipes as well, it also reveals the bakery’s approach


Featuring more than 60 made-from-scratch recipes, this guide provides instruction to re-create the award-winning cakes from the Kiss My Bundt bakery in Los Angeles. Including recipes for champagne celebration cake, sour cream pound cake, lemon basil bundt, bacon cake with bacon sprinkles, and many vegan recipes as well, it also reveals the bakery’s approach to developing new cake flavors and provides techniques for trying this at home.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This bundt lover's bible spells out how to make just about any variety you can think of, from basic vanilla to Lime Basil, while providing tips on how to achieve the perfect fluffiness and flavor.”  —Angeleno

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Life of Reiley
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7.18(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

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Kiss My Bundt

By Chrysta Wilson, Amy Reiley, Kersti Frigell, Margeaux Bestard

Life of Reiley

Copyright © 2009 Chrysta Wilson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-9774120-7-5


Tips in Plain English from a Veteran Baker

I love research. I want to know the ins and outs of a subject, ingredient, recipe. But when I started baking professionally, I couldn't find the information I wanted. The average cookbook gave me a method, not a reason or, if it offered a thorough explanation, the jargon was way too technical. Through trial and error — and by this, I mean some terrible, terrible cakes — I learned the hard way about the ingredients, methods and tools essential to making outstanding bundts. Part of my goal with this book is to provide home bakers with those kinds of tips, the ones that will help a regular person, like me, understand that baking from scratch is easy, affordable, all natural and, simply put, makes superior cakes.


Softened, Unsalted Butter

Baking is all about precision. Bakers must control all ingredients that go into their batter. There is no way to know exactly how much salt is in regular, salted butter. This is why I use unsalted butter (and then add a specific amount of salt to the recipe). Doing so will give you a better cake. And it will definitely give you superior buttercream frosting.

In the bakery, I start the vanilla and pound cake batters with butter warmed to room temperature (this takes about 30 minutes in your average kitchen). If you haven't planned ahead and allowed your butter to warm before you begin making your batter, you will probably need to beat it for an extra 1–2 minutes to get the proper consistency.

Large Eggs at Room Temperature

Use large eggs for all the recipes in this book. Eggs MUST be warmed to room temperature in order to achieve the ideal cake consistency. As eggs warm up, they begin to expand. Expanded eggs add more volume and lightness to your cake batter than do eggs straight from the fridge. Warm eggs on a counter for 30 minutes or submerge in lukewarm water for 10 minutes before using.

Milk (never skim)

I recommend using whole milk for the recipes in this book because it gives more fat and volume to the cake. However, you could use a 2% or even 1% milk and reduce the fat of your cakes without much impact to the final cake. As with eggs, I recommend using milk at room temperature — although the temperature is not as critical with milk as it is with the eggs.

Using All-Purpose Flour

My recipes were formulated using all-purpose, rather than cake flour. (Cake flour die-hards will tell you that all-purpose flour can make a dense or tough cake. That can be true. But the basic difference between all-purpose and cake flour is that all-purpose has about 2% more gluten — the protein in flour that is released when a mixture of flour and liquid is agitated — than does cake flour. And for that 2% difference, stores charge a whole lot more money for cake flour.) I've learned that a couple tricks can give you soft, beautifully-textured cakes without shelling out the extra cash. First, sift the flour to break it up a little before adding it to the batter. Then, make sure you don't over mix your batter once you've added flour. Stop mixing your completed batter just after the last bit of flour has been incorporated, not a moment later. If you follow these tips, the glutens will not overdevelop.

Extracts (vanilla and beyond)

As a kid, my mom — who was not a baker — used imitation extracts in her baking to add a lot of flavor without fuss. At the bakery, I use pure extracts, like pure vanilla or pure orange extract. I use these ingredients to boost flavors of cakes in ways that artificial ingredients simply cannot. However, because purchasing multiple natural extracts can get expensive, I've noted on the recipes some places in which the flavor-boosting extracts are optional. You can also replace citrus extracts with extra zest, which I find gives a fairly similar intensity. I recommend using 1 tablespoon of zest for every teaspoon of extract in a recipe.

Bittersweet Chocolate and High-Fat Cocoa Powder

As all serious chocoholics know, you should never skimp on quality when using chocolate in a recipe. For chocolate ganache and glaze, I use bittersweet chocolate (60%-70% chocolate mass).

I do not use chocolate in cake batters because I find it makes the cake heavy and dry. For cakes, I use an unsweetened, Dutch-processed cocoa powder that has a high percent of cocoa butter (22%-24%). I find that this natural fat makes chocolate cakes extra rich and moist. You can use any cocoa powder with my recipes and the cake will come out fine, but once you go high fat, you'll never go back.

The Scraping Song

When the bakery first opened, I was noticing that sometimes the staff's batters had lumps of butter and sugar. One of my staff called them "butter blasters" because when the cake bakes, these lumps of butter and sugar melt and blast through the texture of the cake, leaving a gummy hole. "Butter blasters" come from failing to scrape the sides of the bowl while you're creaming butter and sugar.

The use of a rubber spatula is invaluable in creating smooth, uniform batters. To combat the "blasters," I wrote a song that I — probably to my staff's great annoyance — sang to remind everyone to scrape the mixing bowl. The key lyric was "scrape, scrape, scrape. Scraping is cool." Corny, perhaps, but the song worked!

Incorporating Air (creaming and sifting)

Introducing air into your batter helps to give cake its light "crumb" or texture. Several of the steps in my recipes have been designed to incorporate the optimal amount of air into the batter.

Mixing (or creaming) the butter and sugar does more than mix the two ingredients. Creaming causes granulated sugar to rub up against the butter and create air bubbles. During baking, your leavening agents, baking soda or powder finish the job by expanding those bubbles, forcing the cake to rise.

Another step designed to ensure a light batter is sifting. By sifting, you loosen up the flour, making for easier incrporation into theo batter. The less you mix the flour, the less of the flour's glutens are released and the fewer the glutens, the lighter the cake. In any instruction in this book calling for sifting, measure first, then sift.

Size Matters (the mini, baby and big ol' bundt)

The recipes in this book are simply reliable cake recipes, meaning you can make my cakes in any shape of cake pan you wish, such as cupcakes or rounds. But I think my recipes turn out best in the bundt-shaped pan. I make three sizes of bundts at my bakery: the mini or "bundt cupcake", the baby bundt or "bundt muffin" and the 10-12 cup big ol' bundt." The cakes are referred to by these nicknames throughout the book.

Time and Temperature

All ovens are not created equal. And they are certainly not all treated equally. As a woman who has never known the joy of a new oven, I've learned the hard way how to gauge different ovens. This book calls for the cakes to be baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. But in one apartment, I had to bake them at 325 degrees and in another they wouldn't cook at anything less than 375 degrees. Ovens should be — and almost never are — recalibrated throughout their lives. Your oven may be a few degrees, or possibly many degrees, off. To combat irregularity, invest in an oven thermometer.

In this book, I recommend baking times, but your oven's temperature can drastically change the baking time. An oven thermometer will help you gauge baking time based on your oven's quirks. You may find that your oven's temperature is unsteady (this sometimes happens with gas ovens). In this case, you will want to frequently check your thermometer and your cake for doneness.

One last recommendation for targeting the perfect time and temperature is to check the cake 20 minutes before it should be done. If, at this point, the cake is already brown on top but raw in the middle, it is cooking too quickly. Reduce the heat a little, then continue to bake.

A Question of Cooling

Inverting a bundt can be a frustrating step. (Liberal use of baking spray before you add batter to the pan really helps!) When you remove your finished cake from the oven, let it sit in the pan(s) for about 2 minutes. This allows the cake to pull away from the bottom and sides of the pan as it releases heat. Then, invert the cake onto a cooling rack or a plate to get it out of the pan. Cake pans, especially dark pans, retain heat and will continue cooking your cake even out of the oven. This is why I don't let my cakes sit in their pans for very long. If the cake doesn't release when inverted, let it sit in the pan for 15 minutes, then try again. Keep repeating this step until your cake comes out of the pan. And if — heaven forbid — the cake tears when it comes out of the pan, you can do a patch job by taking a little frosting or glaze to stick the torn pieces back on the cake. If a lot of the cake tears, patch it up and cover the cake with buttercream or cream cheese frosting — no one will ever know!

Tools of the Trade

There are a few tools that have become essential to my cake baking-business. You don't have to own them all — especially if you're just starting out. But trust me, you will immediately see results from the investment in these ten simple tools.

1. Stand Mixer

I use a stand mixer because it helps guarantee the development of the cake batter with the proper incorporation of air (this is essential for moist, fluffy cakes) — and it allows me the freedom to multitask in the kitchen. You can use an electric hand mixer (or mix by hand if you posses the bicep of a personal trainer). But after creaming butter with a hand mixer for a few months, especially with more dense batters like the Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake, you realize that a stand mixer is an excellent investment.

2. Rubber Spatula

This is one of the most essential tools I use in my bakery and one of the least expensive! (See The Scraping Song earlier in this chapter.)

3. Measuring Cups, Spoons and Mixing Bowls

Measuring spoons, not regular household spoons, should be used for teaspoon [tsp] or tablespoon [tbsp] measures. You should have a set of measuring cups for dry ingredients and a liquid measure with a lip designed for pouring for wet ingredients. Invest in a few durable mixing bowls for those tasks that require a separate bowl. I find measuring ingredients before starting the batter gives me perfect accuracy.

4. Sifter

Powdered sugar, cocoa and flour often acquire clumps in storage. And clumps are the enemy of smooth batter. I like to use a sifter with a crank or a fine-mesh sieve or strainer for sifting. Do NOT purchase a sifter with a trigger. By your fifth cake you'll darn near have carpal tunnel. I learned this the hard way. When recipes in this book call for sifting, ingredients should be measured first, then sifted.

5. Microplane Zester

I used to use one of those pyramid-shaped things to zest my limes and lemons. I never really got a lot of zest, even though I grated the heck out of that citrus (and my hand)! A Microplane, (a long, stick-shaped grater based on a carpenter's rasp), is a wonderful invention because it easily removes the zest, (the colored rind of citrus fruits), without getting the bitter pith, (the white stuff beneath the rind).

6. Whisk

For sauces, frostings or even melting chocolate, you'll find the whisk can stir and incorporate your ingredients smoothly in ways a wooden spoon simply cannot.

7. Baking Spray with Flour

When I was a little girl, I learned all about greasing and flouring my bundt pan. I would rub butter around in the pan, then add a few tablespoons of flour and shake it around, tapping out the excess. This was to ensure that the cake would easily release from the pan. But modern science has propelled us into a world where we no longer need to grease and flour. Now you can buy a nonstick cooking spray with the flour already added. Spray your pan liberally with this marvel before adding your batter. When your cake is flipped from the pan, it will slide out with ease — without any of the chalky, flour coating that sometimes developed from old school greasing and flouring.

8. Bundt Pans

As your bundt experimentation grows, you may want to start a collection of pans in all 3 sizes. But the most essential is the big ol' (10 or 12 cup) bundt pan. Buy a light colored pan if you can find one — I have found that darker pans retain more heat and can burn the cake even if you follow baking times and frequently test for doneness. In my Baking Academy, at least one person per class will ask me about silicone bundt pans. When these pans first appeared, I wanted to love them. The concept of easy cake removal and easy cleanup makes sense to me. However, in my experience, silicone bundt pans do not produce the wonderful cakes I've come to expect from my metal pans. The cakes often brown on the outside before the middle cooks and the bake times can often be 50% more than the recipe recommends. Maybe I'm just old fashioned but metal, fluted pans are the only pans for me.

9. Cake Tester

You cannot reliably know a cake's doneness without testing. On a recent trip to a bakery supply store, I saw a cake tester that, when inserted into the cake, would turn blue if the cake is done. This is amazing technology. But I think a toothpick, popsicle stick, coffee stirrer or even a knife works fine. You'll know that the cake is done when the inserted tester comes out clean, free of batter or crumbs.

10. Cooling Rack

I like to flip my cooked bundts onto a wire cooling rack. The rack helps air circulate around the cakes. I do this at the bakery to drop the temperature and frost the cakes as soon as I can. You can cool your cakes on a plate but sometimes the sweat from the cake against the plate can make the bottom of the cake gummy.


Vanilla-Based Bundts

I call my vanilla cake the "blank canvas." This bundt is simply the kind of basic vanilla (or yellow) cake recipe I believe everyone should have in their baking repertoire. But I think of it as much more than vanilla cake. For me, it is a canvas and flavorful ingredients are swatches of color I can use to build my next masterpiece.

The way I make a new flavor of cake is perhaps not as thrilling as watching Van Gogh at work, however it is equally creative. I work from a theory that you can change one or both of two elements in the basic vanilla recipe to entirely alter the flavor of a cake. I refer to them as the liquid and the flavoring agent. This book is filled with the variations I've splashed across my canvas, but I've also built the book with the idea that every reader should, after practicing with a few of my cakes, have the confidence to create their own art.

For example, the liquid in the vanilla cake is 1 1/4 cups of milk. But the kind of liquid isn't as important as the volume of liquid. You could substitute some of the milk in this recipe for rum or coffee and wind up with a flavor entirely different from vanilla. You just need to keep the total amount of this liquid at 1 1/4 cups. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend that milk compose at least 1/2 cup of the liquid. In this chapter, I use a variety of liquids including wine, eggnog, fruit puree, coconut milk and Irish Cream.

The choice of liquid usually makes a fairly subtle change to the recipe but you can really make an impact by changing the flavoring agent. By flavoring agent I refer to the vanilla extract that flavors the vanilla cake along with other natural extracts, spices, fruits, etc. that add dimension to a basic yellow cake. I use a wide variety of flavoring agents in this chapter including ginger, citrus zest, instant coffee, fresh fruit, pudding mix, cinnamon and even basil.

Basic Vanilla Birthday Cake "the blank canvas"


2 1/2 C flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C unsalted butter
1 3/4; C sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 C whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Sift flour and baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

3. Beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.

4. Slowly add the sugar. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes.


Excerpted from Kiss My Bundt by Chrysta Wilson, Amy Reiley, Kersti Frigell, Margeaux Bestard. Copyright © 2009 Chrysta Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Life of Reiley.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Chrysta Wilson is the owner of the Kiss My Bundt bakery, where she is known for her Californian spin on the Southern dessert of bundt cake. She lives in Los Angeles.

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