My dear friend Nancy makes a sherry bundt cake from a family recipe at Christmas time. It’s one of my favorite things. I eat it for breakfast for at least a week every December. One day craving that cake, I searched the internet for a recipe. Not paying attention to what I was doing, I started one recipe when I meant to start another. So I just fumbled through and this is what I made.  It was not the plain simple sherry cake I was craving. But somehow, I consoled myself with this delight and it has become a favorite.

It’s taken awhile in Panama to find the ingredients. Jerez (sherry) is hard to come by. And so was instant pudding. I had bought a tub of pudding to use, but I stumbled across the instant mix before I made this cake. While I usually curse the coarse grind of regular sugar here, it works nicely in the topping.


Box of yellow cake mix

Small box of instant vanilla pudding

4 eggs

¾ cup of sherry (I used a good Spanish sherry but I have used cream sherry before. DO NOT use cooking sherry. If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t put it in food.)

¾ cup of oil (I use vegetable or a very light, cheap, plain-tasting olive oil)

1 to 1 ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg


½ cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa

You can also add nuts – walnuts, pecans, any that appeal to you. My family prefers this without nuts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

This is my favorite part (and I want to use it on other cakes), spray your Bundt pan with oil (Pam, whatever) and then “flour” the sides of it with some of the topping. Delicious crispy sides are what you are prepping. Make sure you get the middle cone too.


Pour half the cake batter in. Sprinkle with topping. Cover with the rest of the cake batter. And top with the rest of your sugar/cinnamon/cocoa concoction.


Bake it at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan. Use a butter knife to loosen the sides and the middle. I use a springform pan so I push up the bottom and remove the sides, then I use a very long spatula to lift the cake off the middle form. Let it cool COMPLETELY before serving. This cake does not do well warm.

And did I tell you that Dean fixed my Nespresso coffee machine… if there’s any cake left, tomorrow morning is going to be perfect.

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