This lemon bundt cake with raspberry glaze steals the show! The moist, fragrant lemon bundt is fully glazed with ultra-flavorful raspberry glaze. Do it for Mom, do it for you, do it for anyone you want to wow.
I sort of surprised myself, and not in a good way.
Let me preface what I’m about to say with the fact that I am a little bit of a maniac about detailed pastry work. If my dream job wasn’t already fulfilled, when asked what I’d do if I could do anything, I would say cookie and cake decorating.
Other detail work offers zero appeal. I don’t really want to trim and grind my own meat unless absolutely necessary. Ask me to peel a dozen hard boiled eggs and I will get irrationally agitated if the shells don’t fall off with ease under running water. That’s the kind of detail I’ll toss to the trash in a heartbeat.
But mention a birthday or Mother’s Day or other party (a wedding? Sure!) that requires a cake, and I’ll start early with the cake itself (gotta freeze the layers for ease of frosting), then I’ll buttercream a good full day if I can, fiddling with the plan and the crumb coating and the piping right up to the last minute.
So it is inexplicable, really, that I would fail the basic bundt cake after returning to this, my mom’s go-to cake of our 1970s childhoods, recently. I was inspired by my longstanding lust (a whole row of heart-eyes) for the Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt from Williams-Sonoma. Such deep curves! If a cake can be sexy, here it is. Plus it reminds me of the top of a soft-serve cone from Tasty Twist, one of my favorite things to eat.
It took me a full year to bake the Heritage bundt, though. If I need a great cake, “bundt” is not my thought of choice. Heritage-style aside, the cake is just too plain, just too My-Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding: white boy Ian’s mom gives a bundt cake to Greek girl Toula’s mom Maria, who has no clue what this is. She’s told by her friend, who whispers, “It’s a cakey, Maria.”
It’s also possible I have residual, misplaced disdain for the bundt, lemon in particular, which I made for a boy once loooooong ago (loooooooong Dan, I promise!), with a side of fresh macerated fruit. Love never did bloom, and me being me, I kind of blamed the cake. Shoulda gone chocolate, right?
But my mom made so many great bundts…lemon in particular…that I thought it best to win back to those good vibes with my Heritage pan. One of the features of the pan is the nonstick golden coating, and for that reason I thought I would not also need to grease the pan. The Heritage has such deep grooves anyway, and that would be a real egg-peeling-type job, to grease a pan like that.
When Peg saw the disaster that was my first Heritage bundt, which came out of the pan in hunks of cake both large and small, I’m pretty sure her estimation of me decreased substantially.
Did you not grease the pan? she asked.
Um, no. It’s nonstick.
What nonstick? Of course you’ve got to grease. And flour. Did you not see the deep grooves?
Her “did you not” lawyer-talk led me straight to the nonstick spray, with flour in it. Next round I sprayed, long and thorough. It worked alright. Not perfect.
Then as I was on the hunt for a perfect lemon bundt recipe, I found Maida Heatters’ East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, which you’ll see all over the place is famous for a bunch of great reasons—none of which point to the brilliant coating of fine bread crumbs in the bundt. The crumbs release the perfectly grooved Heritage out of its pan like a dream. What fun to welcome crumbs with a cake, where we’re usually working our pastry-perfection booties off to keep them away and off the scene.
I knew that there was no buttercream-coating the Heritage bundt’s deep grooves (see eggshell irritation above), but how about a glaze? I had made the most delicious raspberry glaze recently out of Molly Yeh’s yogurt book, a simple confectioners sugar glaze flavored with raspberry powder and made glossy with laban.
I’m as big a fan as you are of the glaze that drips and freezes halfway down the sides of the bundt. But with the shape of the Heritage, I didn’t want that look. I wanted to accentuate the deep grooves even more. What if I made a big huge bowl of that glaze, enlivened it even more with rose water, and poured that ALL OVER the Heritage?!
You know the answer. A Lemon Bundt with Raspberry Rose Glaze. Nobody will even think about why you didn’t make chocolate, and love will, I assure you, bloom.
Lemon Bundt with Raspberry Rose Glaze
The moist, wonderful cake is Maida Heatter’s East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, without her lemon glaze. Plus, I like to rub the lemon zest into the sugar to release the lemony oils (as we do in our lemon meringue tart here). Yes, you can leave the rose out of the raspberry glaze, but I’m telling you it’s not there as perfume. The rose is barely detectable but elevates the glaze perfectly. If you have any leftover cake, try making a layered trifle with it. Pow.
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs, for the pan
- 2 tablespoons very soft butter, for the pan
- Fine zest of two washed organic lemons
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour (measure after sifting)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
For the glaze:
- 1 oz. pouch freeze-dried raspberries
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 2-3 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt or laban
- 1 teaspoon rose water
Position a rack to the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to to 350°. Generously butter a 12-cup Bundt pan using a brush and soft butter, then dust it lightly and evenly with the fine dry bread crumbs. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until the sugar is damp and the aroma of the lemon is released. Sift the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt into another medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft on medium-high speed. Add the sugar and lemon zest, as well as the vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and alternately add the dry ingredients and milk in five additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Finish by folding the batter by hand until smooth.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. The cake takes 50 minutes in my goldtone Nordic Ware bundt. Let the cake stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then cover with a rack and invert. Lift pan from cake, leaving the cake upside down. Brush any excess crumbs off of the cake, then place cake on its rack over a large piece of foil or parchment paper.
Make the glaze. In a food processor or by hand using a mortar and pestle, crush the raspberries to a fine powder. Sift the raspberry powder twice, discarding the seeds each time.
In a medium bowl, whisk the raspberry powder with the confectioner’s sugar. Add the yogurt, holding back a bit on it and adding more as needed to create a thick but pourable consistency. The glaze should drip in a ribbon from the whisk and hold its line briefly on top of the glaze in the bowl. Whisk in the rose water. If the cake is still warm, cover the glaze with plastic wrap and set aside until the cake is completely cooled.
Pour the glaze along the ridges of one small section of the cake. Use a spoon or small knife to spread the glaze down into the ridges and all the way to the bottom of the cake, both inside and out. Repeat this process all the way around the cake.
Allow the glaze to harden. Serve within one day.