Saturday, May 2, 2015

Citrus Bundt Cake

I'll admit that I'm prejudiced--against Bundt cakes. In my experience, they're generally dry and visually unappealing. When I want a piece of cake, I want frosting, sprinkles, layers, the works!

However this recipe for Triple Citrus Bundt Cake from Martha Stewart Living tempted me with its promise of three levels of citrus flavor, in the batter, the glaze, and a sprinkling of candied lemon zest on top.

This is indeed a perfect springtime cake, lovely, delicate, and moist. But what surprised me most after I made it was the impact of a non-citrus ingredient on the finished product:  creme fraiche. It seems unfair to describe creme fraiche as the French version of sour cream, though I suppose that's as good a definition as any. But the key point about it here is that its addition to the cake gives it a lovely sour yet rich tang.

Give this one a try. It's made me rethink my Bundt prejudices.


INGREDIENTS

CAKE
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 lemons
1 large or 2 small oranges
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 cup creme fraiche
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 cup superfine sugar glaze
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

SERVING
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Candied Lemon Zest (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1.  Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan (or kugelhopf mold) with cooking spray; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Finely grate 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest.

2.  With a sharp knife, remove peel and bitter white pith from all citrus. Holding a lemon over a bowl, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl. Squeeze juice from membranes into another bowl. Repeat with remaining lemon and orange(s), combining segments in one bowl and juices in other. Cut segments into 1/4-inch pieces. (You will need 3 tablespoons juice and 3/4 cup segments.)

3.  Sift together flour, superfine sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Add creme fraiche; beat on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each. Beat in butter, citrus juices, and zests. Add citrus segments and beat just to combine. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake, rotating pan once, until a tester inserted in middle comes out clean, about 48 minutes.

4. Syrup: Bring citrus juices and superfine sugar to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil 30 seconds more.

5.  Glaze: Whisk together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.

6.  Serving: When cake is done, leave oven on and let cake cool in pan on a wire rack set on a baking sheet 15 minutes. Turn out onto rack and let cool 10 minutes more. Transfer to a shallow dish. Brush syrup over cake. Continue brushing syrup from dish until all syrup is used. Return cake to wire rack; let dry in oven 5 minutes. Immediately brush with glaze. Let cool completely. Cake can be stored, covered, up to 1 day.

7.  Spoon whipped cream into center of cake; top with candied zest and serve.

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