Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake
My Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake is completely scandalous. I spent 18 years devouring this ethereally fluffy, lightly buttery, and cinnamon pecan-streusel coffee cake, completely unaware of the intrigue hiding in every slice.
Fortunately for all our appetites, I’ve never been much good at secrets or surprises, a trait I consider to be both one of my best and worst qualities. I am willing to discuss almost any area of my life openly, which probably explains why I a) regularly swap life stories with strangers on airplanes and b) write a blog. This coffee cake recipe may have deceived me for years, but I’m way too excited about it to keep it hush hush. Call the tabloids! This coffee cake has a story to tell.
On the outside, this coffee cake appears to be a straightforward, classic bundt: a lovely shape, golden tone, and solid companionship for your cup of coffee. The glaze hints at subtle sweetness and cues that this cake is a special treat, but nothing that sets it apart from other recipes.
To truly understand the magnitude of my Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake you need a slice, a bite, and a peek at the impossibly easy recipe.
The first surprise is a gorgeous interior swirl—a hidden ribbon of cinnamon sugar and chopped pecans that infuses the cake with warm flavor.
The second is the cake’s texture. Unlike dense and filling coffee cakes, my Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake is like biting into a cloud. It’s so fluffy and airy, I half expect my piece to float right off my plate as I’m eating it, and I love serving it at multi-course brunches or after a heavy dinner for this reason. Everyone can enjoy a slice conjunction with the other food without excess discomfort. (If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spied it beside a monster pot of cheese fondue.)
Now, the scandal. Are you ready for this?
My Grandma’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake does not actually contain any butter. In fact, there’s no fat added whatsoever. Its only ingredients: a box of yellow cake mix, a box of vanilla instant pudding mix, milk, eggs, and butter and vanilla extracts. That’s it. My Grandma—who for years made hundreds of holiday rolls, pies, and cookies 100% from scratch—uses a boxed mix and instant pudding to make her heavenly coffee cake.
How a cake that is this easy—it’s one bowl and is ready to bake in less than 10 minutes—and contains no actual butter or oil can taste this fabulous is a mystery to me, but Grandma clearly knows best. Even Ben, who passes on 97% of the desserts I bake, ate three slices at brunch, and our guests pounced on the leftovers. The proof is on the (empty) plate.
Anyone have a contact at The National Inquirer? This is headline material my friends.
Butter Bundt Coffee Cake
For the Cake:
- 1 box yellow cake mix — (my Grandma’s recipe calls for Duncan Hines. I’ve also used Betty Crocker with excellent results)
- 1 package vanilla instant pudding — (4-serving, 3.9 ounce size box)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup water — (my Grandma also suggests sherry or apricot juice)
- 4 large eggs — at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon butter extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cinnamon Streusel:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
For the Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar, — sifted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon butter extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a large (10 or 12-cup) bundt pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake and pudding mixes. Add the milk and water and stir to combine. Beat in the eggs one at a time, combing well after each, then add the butter and vanilla extracts. Beat for 6 minutes at high speed.
- In a small bowl, stir together the streusel ingredients: granulated sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then pour the remaining batter over the top. Bake the cake in the center of the oven until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 8 minutes, then turn the cake out of the pan and let cool completely.
- For the glaze: beat together the powdered sugar, milk, butter extract, and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Slice and serve.
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