There is something about lemons and Easter. I don’t know what it is, but I lost track of the number of lemons I used this past weekend. I made fresh lemonade, a lemon, garlic and oregano rub for a grilled leg of lamb, and I squeezed lemon over roasted golden beets… I was going to make a modified version of this lemon vinaigrette, too, but I thought it might be too much. As it was, this cake, with it’s glaze and sauce, packed a lemony punch all on it’s own.I found a recipe for “The Ultimate Lemon Bundt Cake” on carnaldish.com that employed a trick with the zest that is similar to one that I use when making lemonade. By macerating the zest in something (sugar, sugar syrup or juice), the oils are infused throughout the dish, keeping the flavour from becoming dull. I am going to use this trick more often when I bake, as it works a treat.
I was able to make this cake after church and have it ready for Easter dessert. It is easy, and quite fool-proof. I never have buttermilk on hand, but I’ve found that a mixture of Greek yogurt and plain milk works every bit as well in baked goods, and didn’t let me down here either.
Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
adapted from carnaldish.com
3 lemons, zest grated and saved (about 2 tablespoons), then juiced (you’ll need 3 tablespoons of juice for the cake)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups room temperature butter
2 cups white sugar
For the Glaze:
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups confectioners sugar
Yellow food colouring (optional – if using gel, add it to the lemon juice first do dissolve it)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan quite well and set aside.
Combine the lemon zest and juice in a small bowl; set it aside to soften and infuse, but do not stir, which can draw bitterness out of the zest.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. Combine lemon juice mixture, vanilla, yogurt and milk in medium bowl. And then, in a small bowl, gently whisk the whole eggs and the yolk just to combine.
In a stand mixer with flat beater, or with an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes (don’t skimp on time); scrape down sides of bowl and reduce the speed to medium. Add half of the eggs, mixing until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining eggs and scrape down the bowl again.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add about a third of the flour mixture, followed by half of milk mixture. Each time, mix until just incorporated. Repeat using half of remaining the flour mixture and all of the remaining milk. Scrape the bowl again and add the last of them flour. Hit it once more at medium-low speed just until the batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.
Fold the batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour that may be at the bottom of the bowl (this tends to happen with stand mixers – at least it does with mine). Scoop the thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out as best you can. Take care to not get any down the centre of the tube (not that I’d know anything about that).
Bake until the top is golden brown and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes.
While cake is baking, whisk the glaze ingredients together, adding more lemon juice (if you like it tangy) or milk (if you don’t) until the glaze is thick but still pourable (the mixture should leave faint trail across bottom of mixing bowl when drizzled from the spoon or whisk).
Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then invert the cake directly onto a rack set over a foil covered baking sheet.
Pour half of the glaze over warm cake and let it cool for 1 hour, so the glaze hardens; stir the remaining glaze and pour it as evenly over top of the cake as you can. Leave it to cool to room temperature for another couple of hours.
3/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
5 teaspoons cornstarch
heaped tablespoon of grated lemon zest
1 1/4 cup boiling water
5-7 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
In a medium saucepan, thoroughly combine the sugar, salt and cornstarch. Gently mix in the lemon zest and let it stand 10 minutes, undisturbed, to extract the oils.
Turn the heat to medium high and add the boiling water. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Add the lemon juice and butter and stir well, off the heat. Serve warm over any dessert, or cool and fold it into whipped cream for a fluffy, tangy treat.
If you have any left over, it will firm up in the fridge. It’s still lovely. It just won’t flow. Think lemon meringue pie filling.