For Lauren Mitterer, the seed for a baker's life may have sprouted on a Thanksgiving Day when she was growing up.
Chef: Lauren Mitterer
Bakery: Chef-owner of WildFlour Pastry, Charleston
Resume: Went to the University of Virginia on a rowing scholarship; graduated with a degree in studio arts. The 2004 CIA grad earned a James Beard award nomination in 2008 while working at the Red Drum Gastropub in Mount Pleasant.
Tidbit: This bundt cake aside, she once said, “I have an issue with slices. I think everything should be individual.”
One of her favorite food memories is a slice of pecan pie “with way too much whipped cream,” she jokes.
But seriously, “It was something we only had at Thanksgiving, so I savored every bite. Also making mini turkey sandwiches at the end of the night on the little dinner rolls — something so great about leftovers even just a few hours later.”
Now the chef and owner of WildFlour Pastry in Charleston, Mitterer went on to earn a degree in baking and pastry from the Culinary Institute of America. Mitterer came to Charleston in 2004 to work as executive pastry chef at Red Drum Gastropub, where she was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award.
Five years later, Mitterer struck out on her own in a charming bakery-cafe on Spring Street, creating fresh takes on comfort desserts and introducing the neighborhood to her now-famous “Sticky Bun Sunday.”
Thanksgiving isn't always a piece of cake (pun intended) for those in food and beverage. Mitterer once had to work 44 hours straight to get through Thanksgiving morning after an employee got the flu.
“Needless to say, I didn't eat much that holiday, but, luckily, Thanksgiving dinner is one that is good no matter what day you enjoy it.”
What is she thankful for this year?
“My family and I have had a difficult year with the loss of my sister last year, so I'm thankful for the support of my community while we cope with her passing. I'm also extremely thankful I live in a place that supports what I love to do, and allows me to share in the joy of each their holidays.”
Apple Pecan Cake With Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
4 cups sugar
3 cups vegetable oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1½ teaspoons cloves
1 tablespoon ginger
2 tablespoons cinnamon
6 cups apples, medium diced
2 cups pecans, chopped
Maple Cream Cheese Glaze (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and sugar a 10-inch bundt pan and set aside.
In an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, on high speed, whip the eggs and sugar until light in color. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the oil and vanilla until fully incorporated.
Stop the mixer and add all of your dry ingredients, flour through cinnamon.
On low speed, mix dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the diced apples and chopped pecans, fold in. Scrape batter into the bundt pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, 60-75 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.
Remove pan from the oven and immediately flip onto a plate or cardboard cake circle, leaving the pan intact, until the cake is cool. Remove pan from cake and top with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze. Place in airtight container until ready to serve.
Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
Note: This recipe makes a generous amount, so use your preference.
8 ounces butter
12 ounces cream cheese
1½ pounds powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup maple syrup
Toasted and chopped pecans for garnish
In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add all of the powdered sugar to the butter mixture and place back on the mixer. On low speed, mix until the powdered sugar has been incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup and mix until incorporated.
If you would like a stiffer frosting, place back on the mixer on medium speed until the frosting thickens, about 2-3 minutes. If you would like a more pourable glaze, add warm water until you have reached the desired consistency.
If you have chosen a spreadable frosting, place the cake on a serving platter and, with a small offset spatula or butter knife, spread over the top and sides.
If you have chosen a pourable glaze, place on a sheet pan and with a liquid measuring cup, pour over the top of the cake going around the entire cake, letting it drip down. Once the glaze is set, place cake on the serving platter.
Toasted and chopped pecans make a great garnish for either finish.