There probably isn’t a single season that I am not infatuated with at some point during the year.
Autumn is no exception. Instead of falling sleep to the chilly summer breeze coming through my window at midnight, I am buried in my warm covers at 10 pm, which isn’t all that worse of an alternative. But my favorite parts of autumn include pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, haystacks in front of Fred Meyer’s, warm wool knits at Nordstorm, and school.
School where I run from class to class with a backpack full of notebooks, feeling confident that I’m an upperclassman. School where I can exchange numbers and form study groups with people I meet just while waiting outside my biology class. And school where I can go absolutely mad and try out things I would never have dreamed of trying.
Like how I tried Zumba (Latin dance fitness) in the middle of campus as Shakira did her “She Wolf” howl on the speakers behind me last week. I must say that with all the years I’ve lived, the notion of me Latin dancing in front of my college peers never once dawned upon me. The past Friday, I went to a Swing Dance as a near total swing-dance-no-brainer, but ended up having a wonderful time with some very skilled dance partners and was almost dropped on a dip (which can be as exciting as it is embarassing).
And tonight was my college’s Cuisine Club’s first meeting of the year where I had a chance to rejoice with all the other foodies at my college. I ran there straight after my chemistry professor’s office hours and arrived to find the room abuzz with voices already. It was jam-packed with people and the scent of two large vats of curry made my stomach growl like never before. Then the wonderful officers starting introducing us to the activities they have, like pasta potlucks, chocolate truffle making classes, chocolate factory tours, cupcake decorating (squeal!) and so much more. Needless to say, I was one of the first to jump out of my seat, wallet in hand, to become a member of the club.
As you can see, autumn is definitely giving me an adrenaline rush.
And near the top of that list of autumn wonderful-ness is Fall baking. I dumped blueberries and nectarines for cinnamon and apples. I’ve pulled out my little folder of recipes that I labeled “Save for Cold Seasons”, when I was too in love with summer fruit to bake anything but fruity sweets. I have put away my summery photo decor for autumn wreaths and extra large pinecones. And now I have enjoyed the classic autumn culinary staples, brown sugar and maple syrup in the form of a bundt cake.
Does sweet comfort food get any better than that? Yes it does. When? When you add chocolate chips and give your autumn-esque cake an extra touch of chocolate.
Brown Sugar Maple Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake (Adapted from Bon Apetit, October 2007)
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips.
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (plus an additional amount for dusting pan)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1.4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan then dust pan lightly with flour.
2. Place your chocolate chips in medium bowl. From your 3 cups all purpose flour, measure about 2 tablespoons flour and toss those 2 tablespoons in with your chocolate. (Tossing your chocolate with a tiny bit of flour helps keep them evenly suspended in the batter.)
3. Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract and maple syrup. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Detach the bowl from the stand mixer and, using a spoon or spatula, fold in the chopped chocolate. Spread your batter evenly in your prepared pan.
6. Bake at 325F until cake tester comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan over a cooling rack for about 30 minutes. Then invert cake onto cooling rack and let it cool.