Friday, June 13, 2008
Lemon Bundt Cake
Ever since I saw this post about the lemon bundt cake, it looked too delicious not to try. Before I try new recipes, I always do a search to make sure that it worked for others and where it is from because I've had too many bad experiences in the past with recipes that are way too advanced or just simply flopped. Luckily, this recipe received great reviews and is also from Cook's Illustrated, which is definitely a bonus. Before I even started on the cake, I had to get a bundt pan, but with so many designs it was hard to choose. In the end, I picked up the anniversary classic bundt pan, since there are only so many times I can bake a castle or a rose cake.
Scanning over the recipe, the first thing that caught my eye was the 18 tablespoons of butter! I was planning on making half the recipe anyway, since that's what I usually do when I try new desserts. I decided that instead of using 9 tablespoons of butter for the halved recipe, I would just do 8 tablespoons. A one tablespoon reduction of butter may not seem much, but in the end, it all adds up! 1.5 flour/8 tablespoons of butter is my usual ratio for flour to butter anyway, any higher and the cake feels a little too rich. To prevent using more butter, I never grease my pans, but I do line it with parchment. I can't line a bundt pan, but this cake had enough butter that it fell out easily. My favourite part of the recipe was the use of freshly squeezed lemon juice and buttermilk. Since both ingredients help to tenderize cakes, it can be extremely helpful for an inexperienced baker like me, especially since this cake calls for all purpose flour.
Its amazing how the addition of an egg can curdle the creamed butter and sugar, but when the speed is increased, the curdled mess transforms into the smoothest and fluffiest mixture. When the cake was done and finally cool, I couldn't wait to cut a slice and hope that the crumb was just as tight and tender as ones I have seen. I ate it plain with no glaze or icing sugar and was so moist and fluffy. This was definitely one of the better cakes I've made.
Lemon Bundt Cake
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Serves 12 to 14
3 lemons , zest grated and saved, then juiced for 3 tablespoons juice
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (preferably)
3 large eggs , at room temperature
1 large egg yolk , at room temperature
18 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 1/4 sticks), at room temperature (I used 16 tablespoons)
2 cups sugar (14 ounces)
2 - 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (see note above)
1 tablespoon buttermilk
2 cups confectioners' sugar (8 ounces)
1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray with flour (alternatively, brush pan with mixture of 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon melted butter). Mince lemon zest to fine paste (you should have about 2 tablespoons). Combine zest and lemon juice in small bowl; set aside to soften, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Combine lemon juice mixture, vanilla, and buttermilk in medium bowl. In small bowl, gently whisk eggs and yolk to combine. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, cream butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes; scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce to medium speed and add half of eggs, mixing until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining eggs; scrape down bowl again. Reduce to low speed; add about one-third of flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until just incorporated after each addition (about 5 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Scrape into prepared pan.
3. Bake until top is golden brown and wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into center comes out with no crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes.
4. FOR THE GLAZE: While cake is baking, whisk 2 tablespoons lemon juice, buttermilk, and confectioners' sugar until smooth, adding more lemon juice gradually as needed until glaze is thick but still pourable (mixture should leave faint trail across bottom of mixing bowl when drizzled from whisk). Cool cake in pan on wire rack set over baking sheet for 10 minutes, then invert cake directly onto rack. Pour half of glaze over warm cake and let cool for 1 hour; pour remaining glaze evenly over top of cake and continue to cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours. Cut into slices and serve.