There is just something about the smell of lemons. I adore cooking or baking with them because the kitchen smells so fresh and it just puts me in a cheery mood. I especially like baking with them after a long winter of using heavier ingredients. I find myself leaning towards lighter desserts.
I recently made this cake for Easter as a birthday cake for our aunt, but it would also make a lovely Mother’s Day cake as well. There are a lot of steps, but it creates such a light cake that you’ll be very happy and the more often you make it you’ll realize it’s pretty easy to whip up. Make the cake in advance, drizzle the glaze over it about 15 minutes before serving, and you’re all set!
While a bundt cake isn’t necessarily “light” the fresh lemon taste gives you that feeling. What I like about this recipe is the lemon flavor is subtle. It’s just enough and not overpowering. Usually I bake with Meyer lemons to have a lighter taste, but there is no need here!
**If you don’t have nonstick baking spray with flour, mix 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon flour into a paste and brush inside the pan.
Light Lemon Bundt Cake
- Nonstick cooking spray with flour
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon zest, finely grated from 4 lemons
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray the inside of a standard 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.
Whisk the flour, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, zest, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, egg yolks, oil, butter, and vanilla together.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on low speed until just broken and foamy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to beat, adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites are shiny and form stiff peaks.
Slowly whisk the milk mixture and lemon juice into the flour mixture until smooth. Fold on third of the beaten egg whites into the batter until combined, smearing any stubborn pockets of egg white against the side of the bowl. Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter.
Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top. Wipe any drops of batter off the sides of the pan. Bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Do not overbake!
Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely, 1 to 2 hours. When cool, drizzle with the glaze and let the glaze set before serving, about 15 minutes.
Light Lemon Glaze
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 5 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
Whisk all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let set for 15 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 250 Calories, 8g Fat, 3, Sat Fat, 50 mg Cholesterol, 3g Protein, 1g Fiber, 200mg Sodium.
Source: Cook’s Illustrated, July 2008