#BundtAMonth: Mahlab Vanilla Bundt Cake

Mahlab Vanilla Bundt Cake

I cannot decide if this qualifies as a bundt cake! I don’t know why, when I planned to make my BundtAMonth cake at my in laws’ house, it did not occur to me to bring a pan. I guess I forget not everyone lives in my world of owning 3,000 bundt pans.  So this cake is small, and, as you might notice, rather pale and flat. The flat is just the size of the pan; the pale is from using a silicone pan, which is fine when necessary but I really do not believe in using all things being equal. As you can see, the cake does not get any kind of crust on it.

Mahlab Vanilla Bundt Cake

So this is another, ahem, creative entry for me in my BundtAMonth participation. The theme for April is cherries… and ladies and gents, I really dislike cherries! Much to my family’s dismay, and not counting tart cherries, which you cannot find in late March around here. So I started thinking outside the box. At which point I remembered my good friend Faith, from An Edible Mosaic, who had mentioned in my interview with her  just how much she loves mahlab, a Middle Eastern spice, which is the whole kernels of the St. Lucie Cherry. I asked our awesome BundtAMonth creators, Lora and Anuradha if they thought it qualified. I am delighted to report–because this is truly a delightful cake–that they said yes!

As mentioned, I made this for my in laws, and everyone liked it. I have also been enjoying it for breakfast, for tea, as a late night snack… well you get the idea. It might not be such a bad thing when it is gone. The mahlab does not–as far as I could taste–bring any particular strong flavor to the cake, but there is just something extra tasty and aromatic about it. I used my favorite Lisa Yockelson recipe as a base to work with, and went from there.

I really hope you join this month (even though I don’t like cherries!) because let’s face it: we’re fun! And tasty! And we inspire great desserts! So get baking, and here are the rules:

– Simple rule: Use any cherries (or any part of the cherry) – and bake us a Bundt for April
– Post it before April 30, 2013.
– Use the #BundtAMonth hashtag in your title. (For ex: title should read #BundtAMonth: Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt)
– Add your entry to the Linky tool below
– Link back to our announcement posts.

Follow Bundt-a-Month on Facebook where we feature all our gorgeous bundt cakes. Or head over to our Pinterest board for inspiration and choose from over 350 Bundt cake recipes. And check out my co-hosts’ fabulous creations!

5.0 from 1 reviews
#BundtAMonth: Mahlab Vanilla Bundt Cake
  • 3 cups (378 g) AP flour (if possible, substitute up to ⅓ of this with cake flour, or substitute a few tablespoons with potato or corn starch)
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ¾ t salt
  • ½ lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ t freshly ground mahlab
  • ¼ t ground cardamom
  • ¼ t ground ginger
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a nonstick bundt pan thoroughly with flour/grease mixture. Also spray some bundlettes or mini loaves for the excess dough or use a 10 inch tube pan for the entire cake (I love bundt cakes, how pretty they are, so I rarely use tube pans--in this case, I actually was able to make a full size loaf cake in addition to the bundt cake). Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a mixer on moderate speed for 4 mins. Add the spices and beat. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
  4. Add the sugar gradually, beating thoroughly while adding. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 secs after each addition and scraping down the sides of bowl.
  5. Add the vanilla and blend it in.
  6. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Remember to keep scraping sides and bottom of bowl.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s) and smooth top with rubber spatula.
  8. How long you bake the cake will depend on the size(s). A 10 inch tube cake will take 1 hour and 15 minutes. A 9-10 inch bundt cake will take approximately 1 hour. The funky silicone bundt pan took about 45-50 minutes, as did the full size loaf pan. 1 cup size bundlettes take around 25 minutes. You will just need to watch for whatever sizes you choose to make.
  9. Bake the cake(s) for the recommended time, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The baked cake will pull also slightly away from the sides of the pan.
  10. Cool the cake in the pan(s) on a rack for 10-15 mins, then invert onto another cooling rack and then invert again to stand upright (for a tube pan or loaf pan--a bundt pan will already be upright). Cool completely. Store in airtight cake container. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the top of the cake before serving if desired.


Wednesday April 3


  1. says

    Your cake looks very tasty and a perfect complement to a cup of tea, Laura. Simply delish. And very innovative with the addition of mahlab. Congratulations on a winner =)

  2. says

    As a serious cherry lover, I think this is a great theme! And I love your creativity in terms of tweaking it to your taste. Adding the mahlab is a great idea!

  3. says

    You have me so curious about mahlab and I’m on the hunt for it now. I’m smiling at your cake. It is a bundt cake as the middle hole is there. At least you have confirmed by suspicions of using the silicone pans. I know I’ll keep using the traditional metal pans.

  4. says

    Laura…you most definitely get the award for ingenuity! So creative for you to think of a way to use cherries when you don’t really like them. You are such a good sport! And like Renee….you’ve got me wanting to get my hands on some mahlab! : )

  5. says

    I’m not a big fan of silicon pans for exactly that reason. They just don’t brown the way I would like. But at least your mother-in-law had a Bundt pan! You made a tasty cake with those flavorful spices, Laura. And people liked it! That is all that really matters.

  6. says

    Oh man, I hear ya – cooking in someone else’s kitchen can be tricky! Looks like you still got a nice result, even if it isn’t as…bundt-y as usual 😉

  7. says

    I’ve been so curious about mahlab since you mentioned it. It seems like everyone loved your bundt, Laura. Thanks for baking along even thought the theme wasn’t your favorite choice. Simple bundts like this for me are a dream with a hot cup of tea any time of day:)Thanks for being a part of #BundtaMonth!

  8. Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe says

    The Mahlab in the title caught my attention when this popped up in my Weekly Digest e-mail. I will have to give this one a try, but I’m surprised you note that the mahlab didn’t have a strong flavor. Even taking into account the use of cardamom and ginger, the amounts of those spices was so much smaller that the mahlab should have been able to stand out. I’m wondering if you got an old batch? Mahlab is one of those things you have to store carefully – if left out too long, it goes rancid, if frozen/refrigerated too long, it goes flat… Unless I plan to do a lot of baking, I try to grind it as I need it rather than buying it already ground. Great way to participate in the challenge without having to eat actual cherries since you don’t like them. :)

    • Laura says

      My bottle was maybe a tad old (year maybe?) but they were whole. I ground them fresh. Thoughts? I am not a super taster, I tend to prefer really strong flavors, so maybe it was just mild to me?… It DEFINITELY did not smell rancid in any way, just kind of pleasantly almondy…

    • Laura says

      Really weird. I will investigate that as soon as I am in front of my laptop. Sorry about that! I have a lot of problems with the linky tools in general, I don’t think my blog is super compatible with them.

    • Laura says

      I was using a broken linky and never even realized it. Ack! Thanks for letting me know and it should be fixed now. Thanks for your patience.

  9. says

    I had to laugh with true understanding when you said you had “3,000 bundt pans.” I have at least 3 cabinets full of them and, believe it or not, I just bought another one. Would you call that an addiction…lol

  10. Odelle Smith says

    I am fascinated, so I too will be searching for ‘Mahlab’, almonds I like, so if taste is a little like almond, I’m sure that I’ll enjoy this recipe, many thanks for sharing…
    Agree on preferring tins for baking, far better results…
    Think your cake does look very pretty, I imagine that the taste is amazing…
    A great post & recipe, many thanks,
    Odelle (U.K.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: