Good news, everyone who hasn’t fully planned your Mother’s Day brunch menu yet: I’ve found your dessert. Start with an easy, light bundt cake with a great lemon flavor, fill it with a bunch of fresh fruit, and you’ve got a dessert that’s both delicious and beautiful. What more do you need?
After a long, long Chicago winter, I’ve been so ready for the beginning of warm weather, and I think that’s what pushed me toward this dessert. I’ve spent months in the kitchen with cocoa, peanut butter, cinnamon and other “warm” flavors — it’s time for some fresh fruit, you know?
My mom and I made a similar cake for Memorial Day last year, but I couldn’t find the recipe we used then, so I used this Vanilla Bundt Cake with Vanilla Frosting recipe from I Am Baker, a new site for me but definitely one I’ll go back to.
How easy is this recipe? I literally googled “easy yellow bundt cake” to find it. You only need one bowl, and, other than the fruit and maybe the lemon extract, you probably already have all ingredients in your house.
Get a big bowl and mix together some (softened!) butter, standard white sugar and two eggs. Mix in milk and lemon extract — the original recipe uses vanilla extract, for a standard yellow-cake flavor, but using lemon instead gives it a nice lemony kick that goes nicely with the fruit. So don’t add vanilla, and don’t add lemon juice, but add two teaspoons of lemon extract, okay? Then throw in your flour, baking powder (not baking soda!) and salt, mix just until smooth, and you’re all set.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick through the center comes out clean, like the recipe says. The cake might look a little pale on top, but don’t overbake — I did, and I ended up with a fairly dark cake that was just a smidge dry. Nothing that a great dusting of powdered sugar didn’t fix, but I’ll pull the cake out of the oven sooner next time. Or throw on a glaze if it gets dry again — this lemon glaze from Sally’s Baking Addiction is one of my favorite things.
Bundt cakes are always a pain to get out of the pan, so make sure you prepare your pan well. I used butter and flour. When your cake’s all done and you’re trying to flip it out, knives are the standard tool for loosing up the sides, but I also like to use a small, flexible rubber spatula, while the cake is still kind of warm — if you have a curved pan and you run the spatula carefully down the side, it should follow the curve of the pan and separate more of the cake. If most of the cake comes out but some chunks stay behind, don’t panic — try to jigsaw them back in as best as you can, then powdered-sugar over the rest 🙂
And don’t forget the fruit! I went with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, my favorites, but add what you like. I chopped my strawberries while the cake was baking, then kept them in a bowl with the blueberries until serving time, so the fruit didn’t sit in the cake for hours and make it soggy. The raspberries went in just before serving time, too, but I didn’t pre-mix those because they’re kind of delicate. Definitely, definitely have more fruit on hand than will fit in the cake, just so all of your guests get plenty! For my standard-sized bundt cake, to serve seven people, I got a pint of blueberries, a pound of strawberries and one of those standard small, square raspberry cartons, and we ate most of everything.
We all loved this cake, and I’ll definitely make it again. I can see it working well at a summer-holiday barbecue, after everyone’s stuffed themselves with burgers, chips and other heavy, unhealthy things and might want something fresh for a change. But I’d love it on any warm day 🙂
Get the full recipe over at I Am Baker (just remember, lemon extract, not vanilla), and enjoy!