Strawberry Hibiscus Swirl Cake
July 12 2020
It's always the perfect time for a bundt cake. Especially one that is flavored with strawberries & hibiscus. I'll confess that I have never baked or cooked with hibiscus before (not even tea), but when I saw this gorgeous cake (from Love & Olive Oil) I knew I had to give it a whirl (or swirl)!
This cake begins with a vanilla pound cake batter, but gets a perfect pop of flavor from a strawberry-hibiscus sugar running through the middle of the cake. In order to do that, you have to use dried strawberries (if you're near a Trader Joe's, their dried strawberries are the best!).
You also use dried hibiscus flower. Since I had never used this before, I ordered, from Amazon, the smallest bag I could get, and was shocked when this foot-tall bag showed up! It's okay...I figure that hibiscus will appear in a lot of future recipes. Meanwhile, you grind the dried strawberry, hibiscus and some sugar together, and that's what gives you the bright flavor running through the cake.
What makes this cake so stunning is the glaze. You can certainly make the cake with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar, but why stop there? Definitely sprinkle with the powdered sugar so that the hibiscus glaze will pop! Drizzle the glaze over the top (I actually used a pastry bag so that I could be sure the glaze went exactly where I wanted it to go) to create this gorgeous cake.
It's bright, it's bold, the flavor is divine and the look is insane!
Makes: 16 servings
Total Time: 2 hours
For Sugar Swirl:
1/2 ounce freeze-dried strawberries
1 tsp dried hibiscus flowers
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
For Pound Cake:
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tbsp milk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
2-3 tbsp brewed hibiscus tea*
Preheat oven to 350°F, with the baking rack positioned in the lower third of the oven. Lightly grease a 10-cup capacity bundt pan.
In a clean coffee/spice grinder or a small food processor, pulse strawberries and hibiscus flowers together with 2 tablespoons sugar until very finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, salt, sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and almond extract until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as you go. After you’ve added the final egg, increase the mixer to high and beat for 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add half of flour, mixing until almost incorporated. Mix in milk, followed by remaining flour, mixing until just combined. The batter will be smooth and thick, but still pourable.
Spoon about 1/4 of the batter evenly around the bottom of prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle generously with about 2 tablespoons of strawberry sugar mixture. Spoon about half of remaining batter on top, sprinkle with another 2 tablespoons sugar (reserve what’s left for the glaze). Spread remaining batter evenly over top.
Place the bundt pan on a baking sheet (just in case) and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean (If you use an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should register about 200-205°F.) Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack for 15-20 minutes, then gently invert the cake onto a cake stand or serving plate. It should come out cleanly. Let cool completely, then dust generously with powdered sugar (optional, but it makes the glaze stand out more).
For glaze, whisk powdered sugar with remaining strawberry sugar (about 4 tablespoons or so). Add 2 tablespoons of hibiscus tea and whisk until smooth. Add more tea as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze is thick but pourable (too thin and it’ll just run down the sides of the cake). Pour or pipe onto cake. Let set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can also freeze the unglazed cake, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and/or in an airtight bag, for up to 1 month. Let thaw completely before glazing.
Chef's Note: You can make hibiscus tea using dried hibiscus flowers: steep 1/2 cup flowers with 1/2 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and discard flowers. Optionally you can simmer and reduce the tea by half for a more concentrated flavor.Pound cake recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.
Recipe from Love and Olive Oil