I have always admired bundt cakes . It is by far the simplest way of making a cake look fancier than it really is. Strangely though, I have only acquired my first bundt mould recently. I guess it just falls under the category of frivolous, unnecessary bakeware. I may be changing my mind soon though.
One of the very first thing that I made in this bundt tin is a lemon and rosemary cake. I love the marriage between lemon and rosemary though a cake may not be the first thing on your mind.
I kind of like to think of this as an Italian inspired cake through the use of flavours like lemon, rosemary, olive oil (though it is in no way traditional nor authentic). Making and eating the cake is my indulge in reminiscence of a past autumn spent in Italy. I miss the crisp cool air, beautiful blue skies and rolling straw green hills; I miss the bustle of the local markets where bright red pomodori lay, sunny yellow limoni stowed in crates, and marroni makes an appearance.
Many traditional Italian recipes would replace the flour in the recipe with semonlina or cornmeal. However, I find that this gives the cake a very moist, dense structure. If that is the kind of cake you are looking for, do look for another recipe.
My cake has the Italian flavours but differs from its structure. It is light, moist, with a tender crumb, a lighter pound cake if you would like. The lemon flavour perfumes itself through the entire cake with very gentle hints of rosemary. The rosemary is there not in a bizarre, savoury way. In fact, it is really subtle with its aroma peeking ever so gently.
I love the smell waffling through the kitchen especially when you take this out of the oven. It reminds me of some of our more leisurely afternoons in Italy where we took a break from the sights and sat at a paticceria eating a simple torta or cannoli and dunking down an espressso, watching the world pass us by. That, to me, is living la dolce vita.
Recipe: Lemon rosemary olive oil bundt cake
Makes 7.5 inch diameter bundt tin (alternatively, you can bake it in a 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf tin)
This is an afternoon tea cake that is moist with a tender crumb, kind of like a lighter pound cake. I use lemon zest instead of juice in this cake as the zest is where you get the lovely lemon essential oils that gives a beautiful perfume to the finished cake. It is advisable to use fresh rosemary instead of substituting with dried rosemary as it lends a subtle punch to the cake and not overpower it.
100g unsalted butter, softened
165g granulated sugar
zest of 1.5 to 2 lemons
10ml olive oil
120g eggs (or approx 2 large eggs), room temperature
170g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7-8 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
For lemon glaze (Optional):
60g confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tbsp lemon juice
*You can make your own buttermilk substitute by using 120ml of whole milk with 1 tbsp of lemon juice/white vinegar. Let it stand for about 5 minutes until the milk starts to curdle.
1. Prepare your bundt tin (for stainless steel or non-stick tins, ignore if using a silicon mould): use a pastry brush to grease the tin with butter. Make sure that you grease it thoroughly especially in the grooves. Sift some flour over the tin and knock out excess flour. This step is essential if you don’t want to face problems removing your cake later. You can keep the bundt tin in the freezer while you prepare the cake.
2. Cream the softened butter with a paddle attachment until pale, light and smooth. Rub in the lemon zest with the sugar. This will help release the oils in the zest. Then add in the sugar and zest mixture to the butter. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, scrapping the sides of the bowl. Add in the olive oil and incorporate.
3. Add in the eggs, one at the time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Don’t be afraid to give it a good mix. Do scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Turn the mixer to low speed and add in the sifted dry ingredients in three steps, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
5. Add in finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves and fold through the batter. Pour the batter into your bundt tin and knock against the kitchen counter twice to knock out any large air bubbles.
6. Bake in a pre-heated 170 °C (338°F) oven for about 35 -40 minutes (or 45-50 minutes for the loaf tin), until cake is lightly golden brown and springs back to touch or when a skewer/toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
7. Overturn your bundt tin on a cooling rack and rest a moist, clean tea towel over the top. Allow cake to cool for about 15-20 minutes before you attempt to remove the cake.
8. For the lemon glaze: whisk together the lemon juice and sifted confectioner’s sugar until you get a smooth, glossy liquid. Drizzle/pipe/pour over cooled bundt cake. Leave the glaze to dry and harden up before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
*Here are some tips of removing a bundt cake.
*Storage tip: This loaf will keep in an air-tight container at room temperature for about 5 days but it is still very moist within a day or two.