Hi all! Sorry for the wait—this next recipe is, as you will see, not precisely complicated but it was a long one to write, and, well, John is out of town again, this time for 5 days. It’s been a little exhausting to say the least.
I made this cake for my playgroup—I was not hosting, but I had offered to bring something. I am new to the group, and thanks to John being out of town so much and us being sick, I had not yet hosted, so I felt bad. Plus I love baking and it is always better if there are more people to eat it than just me and my family. The hostess, Elizabeth (a different Elizabeth from the one previously mentioned), graciously offered to take pictures for me, and wow. I think they are really nice. Maybe for once I will have managed the holy trinity of food blogging—good recipes, good writing AND good photography. Thanks, Elizabeth!
Anyway, a while back I mentioned debating between 2 lemon bundt cakes by Lisa Yockelson and making the less involved one. This seemed like a good occasion to make the more involved one. It is more involved because, like the previous cake, you make a lemon rind soak for the batter and a lemon glaze for the finished cake, but you also make a second soak for the finished cake and the batter itself requires whipped egg whites to be folded into it at the last moment. This step in particular makes for a gorgeous bundt cake—lighter than a pound cake but richer and frankly tastier than sponge cake. It is a little similar to Carole Walter’s Whipped Cream Pound Cake, but even lighter still since the eggs also rise in the oven while baking. The cake was devoured by adults and children alike at the playgroup, and I think Elizabeth and I were secretly a little sad there was really only one large piece for each of us to keep/take home.
Ultra Lemon Bundt Cake
Adapted from Baking By Flavor, Lisa Yockelson
1 T plus 1 t fresh lemon zest
1 ½ t lemon extract
1 T freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
Lemon Butter Cake Batter
3 cups AP flour (378 g)
½ t baking soda
¾ t salt
14 T unsalted butter, softened ( 1 ¾ sticks)
2 T shortening
2 cups granulated sugar rubbed with 1 T lemon zest
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1/8 t cream of tartar
3 T superfine sugar
Lemon Soaking Glaze
½ cup freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 2 t granulated sugar
¼ t lemon extract
Lemon Pouring Topping
2 cups plus 3 ½ T powdered sugar
5 T plus ¼ t freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
First make the lemon rind soak: Combine all of the ingredients and let stand in a bowl for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and set out the bundt pan and grease/flour combo such as Baker’s Joy. (I prefer to not grease the pan until the last minute). The recipe is written for a 10 inch bundt pan (12 cups), but as usual I made it in the prettier 9 inch bundt pan (10 cups) with 2 mini loaves.
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside.
Cream the butter and shortening together on moderate speed in a mixer for 3-4 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest rubbed sugar in 3 additions, beating on medium high speed for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the egg yolks and the lemon rind soak. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
On low speed, add the sifted flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. The batter will be pretty thick.
If you have a hand held mixer or a second mixer bowl for your stand mixer, here is a great time to use them. However, I don’t—so carefully scrape all of the batter into another large bowl and then clean the mixer bowl scrupulously. Be sure to use hot, soapy water as you do not want any grease or fat left in the bowl. Dry the bowl thoroughly.
Using the whip attachment, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks have formed. Sprinkle the superfine sugar over the softpeaks and then beat until firm peaks are formed—be sure to stop before they become stiff.
Stir one quarter of the egg whites into the batter gently but enough to incorporate and lighten the batter. Then very gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter. Be sure to not collapse the egg whites—but at the same time, the egg whites should be totally incorporated.
Prepare the bundt pan by greasing and flouring. Yockelson calls for grease only, but I am used to using Baker’s Joy on my bundt pans and it came out fine. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 55 minutes, or until the cake pulls away a bit from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Rotate the pan halfway through if your oven bakes unevenly. Check at the 45 minute mark and place foil over the cake if it is browning too much. Be sure to adjust the baking time for much smaller pans and if you are using the 9 inch pan start checking it at 48 minutes or so.
While the cake is baking make the Lemon Soaking Glaze: Combine the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small non reactive sauce pan (I use stainless steel). Set over medium low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat when the sugar is dissolved and add the lemon extract. As long as the cake is still warm when you spoon this glaze over it, the temperature of the glaze itself will not matter.
Remove cake from the oven and allow it to cool, in the pan, on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then invert the cake onto the cooling rack placed over foil or wax paper. Spoon the Lemon Soaking Glaze over the cake, taking care to moisten both the sides and the top. I actually chose the bundt shape that I did for optimal pouring; the rose shape, for example, I felt might cause the glazes to pool too much in the folds. Let cool for 15 minutes.
While it is cooling, make the Lemon Pouring Topping: Place the lemon juice, powdered sugar and melted butter into either a bowl prepared for a hand held mixer or a hand held immersion blender. Blend the ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds, or until just combined. Scrape down the sides once or twice to ensure it mixes evenly. Do not overbeat—it should be thick, but pourable. Use immediately, before it sets.
After the 15 minutes are up and the cake is no longer moist from the glaze, pour the Lemon Pouring Topping over the top of the cake, letting it cascade down the sides.
Cool completely before slicing.