Although perennially popular, Bundt cakes are especially lovely in the spring and summer. When you add citrus to the mix, it becomes a delightfully refreshing dessert.
Food and Wine says, “Bundts (or, at least, the confections that inspired them) may be generations-old Eastern European cakes, but the signature aluminum pan they’re baked in is a modern innovation. Bundt pans were invented by H. David Dalquist in 1950, and today we use them to make those classic cakes.
Dalquist was the owner of Minnesota’s Nordic Ware company, and he cast the pan for the Minneapolis-based Hadassah Society (a group for Jewish women), which wanted to recreate traditional kugelhopf—a dense, ring-shaped cake. Originally, he called his invention a bund pan, for the German word that translates to “bond” or “alliance.” Why did he add the T? No one knows, though some speculate that Dalquist wanted to put some space between the name of his product and the German-American Bund, a pro-Nazi group. Others guess it was for trademarking purposes.
Demand for the distinctly shaped aluminum cakes grew slowly after that initial order, but it wasn’t until 1966 when production really blew up—thanks to a Bundt cake placing second in the 17th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off. The gooey, chocolaty cake (called the Tunnel of Fudge Cake) inspired women around the country to try making their own Bundt cakes. Dalquist was inundated with orders and started making 30,000 Bundt pans a day. Today, more than 70 million households have a Bundt pan. Dalquist died in 2005 at the age of 86, still overseeing the production of his hit pan.”
Citrus Bundt Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Zest lemon and orange peel with a grater. Set aside. Reserve 2 teaspoons zest to use in the glaze.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on medium speed, combine butter and sugar, beating until creamy and light. Add vanilla, zested peel, and salt. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down bowl sides and add milk and orange juice, mixing until incorporated.
Spoon flour and baking powder into the bowl and mix until smooth.
Transfer batter to Bundt pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45-minutes to 1 hour.
Remove cake from oven and carefully run a knife between cake and pan around the edge. Allow cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.
Prepare the glaze.
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons lemon and orange zest
In a small bowl, add orange juice, lemon juice, and confectioners’ sugar, mix until smooth. Brush over hot cake, both top and sides. Let the cake absorb glaze and then brush on more. Continue, using all prepared glaze.
Allow the cake to cool completely before icing and serving.
Icing Note: I prefer to dust the top with confectioner sugar instead of icing. If you like icing… do so after the cake is completely cool.
Citrus Cake Icing
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Mix sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, adding just enough additional juice to create a thick glaze, one that’s just barely pourable.
Drizzle on cake top and let it run down the sides.
You can store the cake, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.