Sorry it’s been so quiet around here the past few days. Blogger ran into some issues which made it impossible for me to publish new posts. If you’ve tried to comment over the past 2 days and have run into any problems, I apologize – that was likely also a result of the Blogger outage. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will return to normal now and we can get back to the important stuff – the food 🙂
Back in early March, when I’d had just about all the snowy, cold winter weather I could take, I bought a giant bag of bright, cheery lemons and started baking. I shared these lemon bars soon after and within that post promised to tell you about a lemon cake I’d made recently as well. For whatever reason I never got around to writing that post and had completely forgotten about it until I discovered the photos in my Flickr account the other day. This isn’t the first time I’ve told that story about a recipe I made and it probably won’t be the last. One of these days I’ll learn the lesson about organization in all of this and find a few spare hours to do something about it. For now I’m just glad to finally tell you about this cake, which I absolutely loved.
If you’re a lemon lover, this cake won’t disappoint. It’s packed with more lemon flavor than any cake I’ve ever made and the texture is perfectly tender. Plus, it’s not very labor intensive; since it’s a bundt you don’t even have to frost it – you could simply eat it plain or dust it with a bit of powdered sugar. I like the way a glaze drips down the sides of a bundt so I almost always make one where it’s an option but this cake won’t suffer if you skip it. I halved the recipe below and baked my bundt in a 6-cup pan with no problem. I think I ate two slices within the first day after I made it and wound up calling a friend to see if I could share the rest with her since it was proving to be so difficult to resist!
It’s probably worth noting that Cook’s Illustrated called this a “light” recipe. That’s not why I made it and I wouldn’t have pegged it as a light dessert after tasting it, but it’s an added bonus. There’s still half a stick of butter and 1/4 cup of oil in this recipe but compared to the 2 1/4 sticks of butter in the standard lemon bundt on their site, it’s a definite improvement.
Lemon Bundt Cake
from Cook’s Illustrated
3 cups (12 oz) cake flour
2 cups (14 oz) sugar
1/4 cup lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch cream of tartar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
1 cup (4 oz) confectioners’ sugar
5 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the lower third. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour (or grease with butter and lightly coat with flour).
In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the zest. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the bowl containing the sugar/zest mixture and whisk to combine everything. In a large measuring cup, whisk the milk, egg yolks, oil, butter and vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar then increase the speed to medium-high. With the mixer running, add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, a little at a time, and continue beating until the whites are shiny and form stiff peaks.
Add the milk mixture and lemon juice to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add one third of the egg whites to the bowl and stir to combine (to lighten the batter) then add the remaining egg whites and gently fold to incorporate (try not to deflate the whites).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes then turn the cake out onto the rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze: Whisk everything together in a medium bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the cake letting it run down the sides. Let the glaze set for about 15 minutes.