Like many of you, I subscribe to TastingTable. Some weeks back, their recipe of the day was a scrumptious looking blackberry buttermilk bundt cake with an orange glaze, offered by White House pastry Chef, Bill Yosses. I filed it away for later use.
Later that week, I received a package from the good folks at Xagave Nectar. They reached out to me an offered me a sample of their agave nectar and a copy of their wonderful cookbook: "Delicious Meets Nutritious." I ran a quick search on the company, determined that their product was indeed all natural and certified USDA organic - and I, happily, accepted. Still later, I paired the two of them together and the results were magnificent!
Xagave is a premium blend of the nectar derived from both blue and white agave plants. According to their data, it has the highest concentration of calcium and inulin, and is the only product on the market with a standardized inulin content. Inulin is prebiotic fiber that has been shown to benefit both the digestive and immune systems, increase calcium absorption, and increase bone density.
I'm neither a scientist nor a nutritionist, so I can't speak to such claims ... but I am a baker and I can tell you that I really enjoyed baking with this product. Xagave has a neutral, sweet taste, a fantastic pourable texture and is easy to blend with both hot and cold ingredients. The finished cake had a moist, tender crumb, and the flavor was just sweet enough, without being cloying.
In preparing this cake, I substituted 3/4 cup of Xagave for the 1 3/4 cups of sugar called for in the recipe. I also chose to use a combination of whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour, rather than white flour. This recipe is based on Chef Yosses' Blackberry Buttermilk Bundt cake, featured on TastingTable.com. Should you prefer to go the traditional route with sugar and white flour, by all means, have a go at that link.
Please note that when baking with any agave nectar, it is necessary to reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Blackberry Bundt Cake with Xagave Nectar:
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup Xagave nectar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of low-fat buttermilk
- 2 pints fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup Xagave nectar (or 1/2 cup confectioners sugar)
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
1. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F. Great a 2 quart non-stick bundt pan with butter and dust with a light coating of flour, shaking out the excess.
2. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Whisk well with a wire whisk to combine and reserve.
3. Cream the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and slowly pour in the agave nectar. Beat well on high until well combined. (The mixture will have a pudding like consistency.) Beat in the eggs, one at a time until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
4. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the flour mixture by thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, until all of the flour and buttermilk have been added. Beat until just combined. Remove bowl from mixture and add in the fresh blackberries, folding them in by hand with a spatula to distribute evenly.
5. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake in the middle of a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 50 minutes (or up to an hour) or until golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle of the cake come out clean. Remove from oven when baked and allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter.
6. To form the glaze: combine the fresh orange juice, agave nectar (or confectioners sugar, if using) and lemon zest and whisk well to incorporate fully. Using a skewer or long thin knife, poke deep holes all over the cake and while the cake is still warm, slowly spoon 1/2 of the glaze all over cake, allowing it to seep in. Let the cake rest for 20 minutes, then spoon the remaining glaze over cake and allow it to set for at least 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Like most agave nectar products, Xagave is low on the glycemic index and is far sweeter than sugar - so you can use less and save some calories in the process. Both their site and the "Delicious Meets Nutritious" cookbook have a fantastic conversion chart that will help you substitute agave for sugar in any recipe. This is an invaluable resource!
The cookbook is filled with hundreds of recipes: everything from condiments (like sugar-free, agave sweetened ketchup!), to sauces, baked goods, main courses and even cocktails. Naturally, I was thrilled to find the cocktail section. I've been substituting agave nectar for simple syrup in all of my cocktails for some time now and the results have been magnificent.
You can order both the cookbook and the Xagave nectar from the website and I gather that it can also be found in some natural food markets across the country as well.
So, do you enjoy baking with agave nectar? Curious Diva wants to know.