Published January 1, 2006.
Lemons are tart, brash, and aromatic. Why, then, is it so hard to capture these assertive flavors in a straightforward Bundt cake?
The flavor of lemon juice is drastically muted when exposed to the heat of an oven, and its acidity can wreak havoc on the delicate nature of baked goods.
We wanted to develop a Bundt cake with potent lemon flavor without ruining its texture.
We developed a battery of tests challenging classic Bundt-cake ingredient proportions, finally deciding to increase the butter and to replace the milk with buttermilk. We also found that creaming was necessary to achieve a light and even crumb. But we still needed to maximize the lemon flavor; more than 3 tablespoons of lemon juice created a cake so tender that it practically fell apart when sliced, yet 3 tablespoons of juice wasn't enough to supply ample lemon flavor. We turned to zest and found that three lemons' worth gave the cake a perfumed lemon flavor, though we needed to give the zest a brief soak in lemon juice to eliminate its fibrous texture. The final challenge was the glaze, and a simple mixture of lemon juice, buttermilk, and confectioners' sugar made the grade.list of recipes