Chrysta Wilson, is affectionately called the Bundt Babe for a reason.
Wilson, who founded the sassy LA bakery, Kiss my Bundt, in August 2008, proceeded to start her own baking academy and introductory class before creating a custom cookbook specifically on the art of bundt baking. Wilson caught the bundt bug early; her baking escapades with her Aunt Dia sparked a love for pound cake as much as it did the bundt pan it was made in. She shares this love in her new Kiss My Bundt cookbook, released this past November, with over 60 recipes dedicated to the cake.
Wilson likens the fluted edges and ridges of her moist cakes to a woman with all the right curves, and with recipes ranging from vegan red velvet to a savory mac and cheese, we hope we can maintain our right curves post baking and consumption.
I asked the chef about her inspirations, all-time bundt favorites, and personal recommendations for Valentine’s Day:
BATF: Why bundt? What drew you to this type of cake in particular?
CW: It stems from where I grew up. I was born in North Carolina and grew up in Florida and Georgia. In the southeast, pound cakes are the regional cake. It is buttery and dense and I always loved it.
BATF: How did you come up with the name “Kiss my Bundt”?
CW: There is no crazy story — the name kind of just hit me. Literally, I was sitting at my day job one day and asking myself, can I really do this, if I do what would I call it? And then I thought, Kiss My Bundt! It’s so in line with my humor and that was it.
BATF: I noticed several aphrodisiac related bundt cakes among the recipes, — which are your favorites just in time for Valentine’s Day?
CW: My first inclination is the chocolate cabernet cake with a blackberry red wine glaze. Amy Reiley is an aphrodisiac expert and she really deciphers ingredients that are sensual. The glaze is sticky and wet, you lick the glaze off your finger and it really is part of the whole sensual experience. If you are not hip to chocolate, there is also the honey apricot cake, which has the fruit element, wine element, and the sticky element – either one of those are great for Valentines Day.
BATF: Can you explain how you decided to do savory bundts, such as the mac and cheese one?
CW: The mac and cheese kind of came as a joke between myself and the publisher. We were talking and one of us said, What else can we put in a bundt? I said I love mac and cheese and that I bet if I make more of a cheese sauce, it’ll fuse the bundt – pour cheese sauce over as if a glaze. So, essentially the recipe calls for baking casserole in a bundt pan so it gets that same shape.
BATF: You also have some vegan options in the cookbook as well, like the Vegan Red Velvet. Does it really taste as good as regular red velvet?
CW: You know, most people prefer the vegan red velvet! I only make the food that I like to eat, I’m not going to sell anything that is not good. I had been experimenting with a lot of recipes and now instead of hearing, “Oh it’s good for something vegan,” we hear, “OMG that’s so good, that’s really vegan??”
BATF: How do you combine Southeastern flavors with LA tastes? Are the vegan additions an adaptation for that kind of health-consciousness?
CW: In LA, people are health-conscious, but people still eat. People will go out and eat three cupcakes and then take spinning class –it is an active city. I also think that people really share here – they will get cupcakes and share them. Also, our cakes aren’t as sweet, you don’t feel as if you are going into a sugar shock.
For example, with our vanilla butter cream – the average recipe uses 6-8 cups of powdered sugar, we use 4 – and that’s plenty sweet for me. You can eat one and be satiated, and still feel like it wasn’t too bad for you. For our bundt, there is more cake than frosting. Helps with the health idea, if you are making these recipes you can go easier on the frosting, you’ll feel like you have a really great dessert but you’ll cut out 200 calories of sugar.
Kiss My Bundt (Life of Reiley) is available at kissmybundt.net and in limited release at Barnes & Noble for $16.95.
-Summar Ghias/East Coast Editor