It is February as I write this, and everywhere I look (and by “everywhere” I mean instagram) I see baked goods calling for citrus. This makes perfect sense, of course, as there are very few fresh ingredients with which to bake with here on the East Coast right now, save for lemons, limes, grapefruit, and a variety of oranges with terribly unusual names that I won’t even get into with you here. There is always chocolate – as it is season-less, thank god – but if you’re looking to whip up a treat with a fruity something or other, I’m afraid the buck stops at citrus.For many, this is not a problem, as they love the challenge of baking with the aforementioned oranges, or putting together a key lime pie, or a grapefruit tart. But for me, “citrus baking season” is really just lemon bundt cake season. I love cake and I love bundt cake in particular, and as long it is moist and sweet and tart (and glazed!), well then I REALLY love lemon bundt cake. Truth be told, I’ll take a glazed lemon cake in any form (see here and here), but a bundt is so damn pretty and sometimes looks just count. This recipe is worth making on the regular, in my opinion, at least until rhubarb and strawberries show up in the spring . . .
Lemon Bundt Cake
For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour sifted
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp table salt
- 2 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon zest lightly packed
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp lemon extract
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 2 yolks
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup crème fraiche you can substitute sour cream or even whole-milk plain yogurt
For the lemon syrup:
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the lemon glaze:
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice or more as needed
- 1 tbsp crème fraiche or sour cream or yogurt
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Dust it with all-purpose flour, knocking out any excess.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and the zest and using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar un- til fully incorporated. Add the oil and extracts and whisk until incorporated. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, whisking to combine between each addition. Add the juice and whisk to incorporate; and then the crème fraiche – don’t be afraid to whisk relatively vigorously throughout all of this.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once, and using a rubber spatula, very gen- tly incorporate the dry into the wet. Stop mixing when you can still see a streak or two of flour.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. While the cake bakes, make the syrup.
To make the syrup:
- Combine the juice and sugar in a small saucepan and over medium heat, gently warm the mixture until the sugar melts. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Start checking on the cake after 45 minutes or so (just in case your oven is running hot) and remove the cake when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a moist crumb or two. Let it cool in the pan about 10 minutes or so, and then invert the cake onto a cooling rack (the bottom is now the top). Make holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer or tooth pick and brush the cake with the lemon syrup. Let cool to room temperature before glazing
To make the glaze:
- Place the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl along with the lemon juice and the crème fraiche. Whisk vigorously until smooth. Add additional lemon juice, if necessary, in order to make a thick but pourable glaze. Transfer to a large measuring cup with a spout.
- Place the cake (still on its cooling rack) over a cookie sheet with sides and pour the glaze over the cake while holding the measuring cup a bit higher above the cake than you might think otherwise. This height allows you more control as you dribble the glaze and makes for prettier dribbles, to boot. Let cool until the glaze is set. The cake will keep tightly wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter for a few days – and is even better on day two.