Lemon Bundt Cake

Hello my friends,  I’ve been busy attempting to find a lemon cake to share with you guys. As mentioned last post, attempt #1 was rather a fiasco, resulting in an overflowing, collapsed mess that was somehow over-baked and under-baked at the same time. And to top it off, it failed to cleanly come out of the pan.

Failure

Disaster.

The following week I tried again, using a new recipe. This recipe baked beautifully but was not quite as lemony as I prefer. I like lemon desserts to smack you in the face with lemon rather than leaving you wondering if that was really lemon flavored after all.

And so this weekend, attempt #3 was meant to boost the lemon flavor from the previous week, which was successful, finally.

Lemon Bundt Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

I finally present to you a fully lemony bundt cake for your springtime pleasure. If, like me, you’re ignoring the attempts at snow outside and the chilly wind, and looking longingly towards the blue patch of sky, bake this cake. This morning was a rather gray day, with flurries of now, but as I type up this post it’s now sunny and nearing 50 degrees.

Lemon Bundt Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Obviously the weather gods approve of lemon.

Fairly dense but not sickeningly sweet, the lemon scent permeates the air even before you have a taste. The color of sunshine guarantees a smile even on a cloudy day, and the burst of flavor leaves no questions about its contents. Although I love a strong lemon flavor, I realize it’s not for everyone. If you prefer it a bit more subtle, leave out the syrup step entirely. If you want the experience to have a bit more ka-pow (definitely a technical term), the syrup will give you that. Add as much or as little of it as you like, but make sure you poke deep holes into the cake to allow the syrup to permeate all the way through, or you’ll be left with a soggy bottom/middle that sticks to your wire rack. Don’t be afraid of the holes, they won’t show once the cake is inverted.

Lemon Bundt Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

This is an easy cake, and although a teensy bit time-consuming, it’s very beginner friendly. It would make a delightful addition to any table, sure to please any lemon fan. If you do decide to forego the syrup step, I recommend using a thinner glaze than shown here so you can cover the entire cake. The glaze is a necessary complement to the plainer cake and this will ensure you have some with every bite.

Lemon Bundt Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Lemon Bundt Cake

Adapted from Baking Bites
Serves 8-12

Ingredients

Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs
2 Tbsp fresh lemon zest

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk

Syrup

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Glaze

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 10+ cup bundt pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream on medium speed until lightly colored and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until just combined between each one.
  5. Stir in lemon zest.
  6. Add one third of the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
  7. Repeat with lemon juice, one third of flour mixture, buttermilk, and remaining flour mixture (in that order), stirring just until incorporated with each addition.
  8. Scoop into prepared pan, gently smoothing out the top.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  10. During the last 10 minutes of baking, heat 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 sugar to boiling, then remove from the heat.
  11. Immediately after removing from the oven, poke deep holes in the bottom of the cake, and slowly pour the lemon syrup evenly over it, letting it soak into the cake.
  12. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then carefully invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. After the cake is cooled, vigorously stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice, adding more or less of each to desired consistency, and drizzle over the cake.
  14. Let the glaze set 20-30 minutes, then serve on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Notes

  • You’ll need 5-6 lemons for the whole recipe
  • A skewer or a meat thermometer is ideal for poking holes

Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Happy President’s Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend (and Valentine’s Day, if you’re into that sort of thing.) Friday marked my 5-year anniversary with M, and as usual I baked a cake for the occasion. Each year I use a brand new recipe I’ve never tried, but luckily so far all of them have been delightful. Two years ago was a chocolate raspberry layer cake, and last year was a black forest chocolate cake I haven’t added to this blog yet. Maybe I’ll do a flashback post one of these days.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

This year, I wanted to hark back to the first cake I ever made: a chocolate cake, cream cheese peanut butter frosting, and chocolate ganache decadence that was amazing, albeit incredibly rich. Chocolate and peanut butter are a mutual favorite and this year I decided to reverse it in anticipation of a slightly less decadent confection. Borrowing a peanut butter cake recipe from The Daring Gourmet and pairing it with the same chocolate buttercream frosting from two years ago resulted the cake version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

The cake is moist with a fabulous peanut butter flavor, and pairs beautifully with the chocolate buttercream. I opted for just frosting and no extra filling, but for an extra kick some chopped peanut butter cups would be fabulous between the layers.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Peanut butter chips make a fun polka dot decoration that keeps with the peanut butter theme while being a contrasting color to the frosting. Bonus: they are super easy to decorate with.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Below find The Daring Gourmet’s peanut butter cake recipe with my minimal changes, followed by a reprint of my chocolate buttercream. The original cake called for baking it all in one layer and cutting the cake in half, but since I don’t have a tall enough cake pan for that I opted to divide it before baking. I actually prefer this method because there’s no cutting involved, but both ways should work equally well.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

As for the frosting, I used about a tablespoon of dark cocoa and the rest regular to keep with a more traditional Reese’s pairing, but if you’re a dark chocolate kinda person, go ahead and use all dark cocoa. It will be amazing. For assembly, use your favorite method or head on over to my chocolate layer cake for my own method. Just ignore anything that mentions a filling and use peanut butter chips or another topping for some flair.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

So next time you have a peanut butter fanatic to please, this cake will definitely fit the bill. Just be sure to sneak a piece for yourself.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Borrowed from The Daring Gourmet
Serves 8-12

Ingredients

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup (rounded) creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar (loosely packed)

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Line the bottoms of two 8″ (or 9″) cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pans, especially the sides.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or with a stand mixer), beat the oil, peanut butter, and brown sugar on medium speed until combined and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix on low until just combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  6. Starting with the dry mixture, alternately add it with the buttermilk, beat gently with each addition just until combined. Batter will be fairly thick.
  7. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans and bake for 18-22 minutes. A toothpick should come out moist but not wet.
  8. Cool cakes in the pan for a few minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely (about one hour).
  9. Wrap each layer carefully in plastic wrap, and freeze for 1 hour or until ready to frost.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

From Savory Sweet Life
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup sifted cocoa powder3

½ tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup tablespoons milk, half and half, or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  2. Add sifted powdered sugar and cocoa, and mix on low (unless you want a blizzard) until combined.
  3. Add vanilla, salt, and milk or cream and beat for 3 minutes on medium speed.
  4. If necessary, thin with milk/cream (1 tablespoon at a time) or stiffen with powdered sugar to desired consistency.

Notes

1 This cake is pretty beginner friendly, just be careful not to over-bake it.
2 It keeps well on the counter for a few days, just be sure to cover it with plastic wrap. (Once the frosting has set it shouldn’t stick much.
3 I used part dark and part regular, but any combination of cocoa powders will do; just make sure it all adds up to a half cup.

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

Apologies for the long hiatus. Between spending my winter break in New Zealand (I know, poor me), part of January at home in Alaska, and the new semester/work starting, I didn’t get around to blogging. However, this should mark the beginning of ~weekly posting! *cheersapplauseyay!*

For most of my life I was never a fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s always over (or under) done, and involves way too much pink. However, I no longer loathe the “holiday” because it happens to coincide with my anniversary with my boyfriend (henceforth known as M.) Last year I made a very delicious chocolate peanut butter cake from Smitten Kitchen.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

This cake was three layers of rich, delicious, chocolatey peanut butter flavor. But despite their amazing taste and texture, the cake layers were nearly impossible to work with. Even after being placed overnight in the freezer they were almost too crumbly to frost and layer. Whether this is just part of the recipe or due to my inexperience with cakes I don’t know, but it did inspire me to find a more manageable cake layer recipe.

M also requested a slightly less decadent recipe, so “a guy can eat more of it at once.”

This time, I made sure to use a recipe that included pictures of the sliced cake to act as “proof” of manageability. I debated which accent flavor to involve, but another SK recipe convinced me to use a raspberry filling.

Whole Cake

The result was a two-layer chocolate layer cake, chocolate buttercream frosting, and a raspberry filling. The layers popped easily from the pans, were easy to level, and held their shape nicely.

Slice of cake

Below you will find recipes for the cake layers, frosting, and filling. This cake is not difficult and would be an amazing addition to any celebration. Feel free to substitute any frozen berry you wish for the raspberries.

Chocolate Cake

Adapted from My Baking Addiction
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder (optional)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line the bottoms of two 9”x1.5” round baking pans with parchment paper, then grease and flour. (Cooking spray works great for this step.)
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl if you don’t have a stand mixer), combine the sugar, flour, cocoa(s), baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk (by hand) until well combined.
  3. Add the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. With a stand mixer or electric beater, beat on medium speed for about two minutes, and pour into prepared pans. The batter will be quite thin.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool for ten minutes in the pan, and then turn the cake layers onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Freeze in Saran wrap or freezer paper for 2 hours (or a few days) until ready to frost.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

From Savory Sweet Life
Makes about 3 cups (or barely enough for this cake. Feel free to make 1.5 recipes!)

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (NOT melted!)
3 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup sifted cocoa powder (I prefer dark cocoa for frosting)
½ teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  2. Add sifted powdered sugar and cocoa, and mix on low (unless you want a blizzard) until combined.
  3. Add vanilla, salt and milk or cream and beat for 3 minutes on medium speed.
  4. If necessary, thin with milk/cream (1 tablespoon at a time) or stiffen with powdered sugar to desired consistency.

Raspberry Filling

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes enough for a 2-layer cake

Ingredients

12oz bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

As a note, my method for this is not the most time or dish efficient, but I did find it to be the easiest.

  1. Using a blender or food processor, puree the raspberries.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the puree over medium heat until thin.
  3. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium saucepan, and pour in the thinned puree. Using a spoon or small whisk, press the puree through the mesh to remove the seeds. (Don’t worry if you miss a few seeds or don’t get all the puree through, just aim for most of it.)
  4. Add sugar and cornstarch and heat over medium-high until it boils, stirring constantly. It should quickly thicken after reaching boiling temperature.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool completely before use.

My Assembly Method

Preparation

  1. Fill a frosting bag fitted with a large star tip with chocolate frosting.
  2. Cut a cakeboard or piece of thick cardboard to the SAME size as your cake layers. (No need to leave extra room!) Cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Assemble a long serrated knife or cake level, a flexible cutting board (or similar item), a cake stand (or a plate), a straight or offset spatula (or a table knife), the remaining frosting, the filling, and your cake layers in front of you.

Assembly

  1. Level your cake layers. (If it only dips slightly in the middle, this can be filled in with frosting if you prefer.) On a flexible cutting board place your cakeboard.
  2. Plop a couple of tablespoons of frosting in the center of your cakeboard, and press your first cake layer (cut side down) on top. Using a spatula, spread evenly with about ¼” frosting.
  3. Pipe a border of frosting around the edge to act as a barrier. Spoon or pour in the filling, being careful not to let it flow over the frosting barrier.
  4. Carefully center your second cake layer, and press down gently to seal. Smooth the frosting seal with a knife (or your finger…yum.)
  5. Frost the top and sides of your cake with a smooth coat, about ¼” thick (or thicker, if you like.)
  6. Plop a second dollop of frosting onto a cake stand, and carefully slide on the cake/cakeboard. If necessary, clean the edge of your stand with a damp paper towel.
  7. Using the bag with the large star tip, pipe stars around the edge of the cake.
  8. If desired, transfer the remainder of the filling to a frosting bag fitted with a small, round writing tip (I think mine is a #3 Wilton), and use to decorate the top.

Other

  1. This cake kept quite well for the rest of the week, at which point we had finished it off. Saran wrap works great, but be sure to wait until your frosting has set.
  2. If you are making this a day ahead (which I fully recommend, I thought the flavor was better on day 2), wrap with cling wrap (lightly over the cake but fully sealed around the stand or plate) and wait until the day you are serving it to pipe the decoration on top.
  3. I used a toothpick to design my swirl design before I piped on the filling – much easier to make changes this way.
  4. The filling would also be great on ice cream!