Spiced nutty apple-pear bundt cake
I made this pretty moist and delicious bundt cake this afternoon. It came out of the oven around 4.30 pm, then had to cool and by the time I wanted to take a photo there was no light left whatsoever. That meant having to wait either until the next day or find an alternative solution. I still had this one daylight lamp that I took out of the studio at some point, used once, didn’t like it and tossed it in a corner to get dusty. Enough with the lazy and comfortable daylight! Time to get cracking on some serious stuff.. 🙂
I’ve received many a question from people desperate to find out how to work with lighting in the night or for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, in the wintertime when light fades after 3 pm. I’ve written something about it before which you find here but thought I could do a little more research myself so why not share? As I said; I never use this lamp as it’s just not the same but in case of emergency, you would have to do with what you got right? So for today I dusted of my daylight lamp, took it into our kitchen and started moving it around.
As you can see I positioned the light to come from the right and back and from above a little bit. The lamp has 5 separate bulbs I can turn off individually, so I turned three of and left two burning as it was far too bright, causing burnout and heavy shadows. With a little less light it started to look a little better. I had only one light, so you can see that there is quite a bit of shadow in front of the cake. In order to fill that up a bit I used a silver reflector (you can also use foamboard, aluminiumfoil or something similar) to bounce a bit of light back to the front of the cake. In the two photos below you can see the difference with or without the reflector.
You can tell that there is a big difference here. You can still tell that these are shot with artificial light but the result is acceptable and you can actually use this. Now what is most important I find when working with lights is the direction of the light. That is also true for daylight but that can be a bit more forgiving. I’ve taken two shots where I changed the position of the lamp and see what happens.
Ok first of all; what I like, might be something else from what you like, so it’s in the end all personal preference but to me the photo on the right is boring and lacks something. I turned the light more towards the table coming more from straight above almost (not quite) which made the light a bit flatter and shadows less pronounced.
I will be doing more tests with other lights that anyone would have in their home. Just to see what the issues are and how to possible solve those (or not). These lights are the easy ones since they are daylight balanced and need limited tweaking when it comes to color. In general for shooting at night, it is extremely helpful to use raw instead of jpeg. It gives you more control over the white balance so you can correct it later where needed. For now I will leave you with this delicious bundt cake!
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, softened
- 3 eggs large ones
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pears peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
- 2 apple Golden Delicious (peeled, cored and cut into small pieces)
- 1 cup Mixed nuts coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl put the cranberries with a bit of warm water and let them soak for at least an hour. Drain, discarding the water and set aside. Position rack in the middle of an oven and preheat the oven to 180 C. Lightly butter the bundt tin, then dust with flour, knocking out the excess.
In a large mixing bow or bowl of electric mixer, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add brown and granulated sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla. Using electric mixer, beat on high speed, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed, until batter is pale and smooth, about 3 minutes for handheld mixer and 2 minutes for standmixer. Stir in apples, pears, nuts and cranberries. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. About 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert and unmold onto rack and cool completely. Cake can be made up to three days in advance and stored at room temperature wrapped tightly in plastic wrapp