This spectacular Meyer Lemon Cranberry Bundt Cake is not necessarily in a cookbook on my shelves, but it is off my shelf… well, from one of the magazines in a pile perched on one of the shelves in my kitchen. A little flirting with cheating, but the cake is great.
I found this recipe flipping through the November 2009 Food Network Magazine. Once I saw it, it screamed ‘Bake me, bake me!’ But when? How to get people to steer away from pie for Thanksgiving? I can’t wait until Christmas to make this cake, and besides, I need to take it out for a test drive first. And suddenly I was saved – three more guests for dinner!
So that’s the background, here’s the recipe:
Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake
For the Cake:
- 3 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature, plus more for the pan
- 3 cups cake flour, sifted, plus more for the pan
- 1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed if frozen
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons whole milk
- 4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Syrup & Glaze:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Ingredient note: If you cannot find meyer lemons, don’t despair. Use lemon juice and orange juice. For the 1/2 cup use a three to one ratio, 3 parts lemon juice to 1 part orange juice.
To prepare the cake preheat the oven to 350 and put the rack in the middle of the oven. Butter and flour a 10-cup fluted bundt pan.
NOTE: You need to watch this after the 10 minute mark. They go from juicy to dry very quickly!
Whisk the milk, whole eggs and yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside.
Whisk the 3 cups flour, the remaining 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, the lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the 3 1/4 sticks butter and beat with a mixer on low speed until moistened. Add half of the milk mixture, increase the speed to medium and beat 1 minute. Add the remaining milk mixture in two batches, beating between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again, about 30 seconds.
NOTE: This is a very thick batter, that’s what keeps the cranberries from sinking.
Transfer two-thirds of the batter to the pan. Spoon the cranberry mixture in a ring around the middle of the batter (do not let it touch the pan). Top with the remaining batter and smooth evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.
NOTE: I don’t know if it’s my oven, but this didn’t take anywhere near 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the syrup: Dissolve the 1/4 cup granulated sugar in 1/2 cup lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Remove the cake from the oven, poke the surface all over with a skewer and pour the syrup on top. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto a parchment-lined rack to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let sit overnight.
Note: I may do a 1 1/2 batch of the soak. I think it needed more. Poking holes is definitely necessary, unlike other soaked cakes I have made. This is a dense cake and without the holes the soak doesn’t get far into the cake.
There are a number of steps and a lot of spoons and cups used – but, again, that’s me! The steps seem daunting, but they really all come together nicely and quickly. A tiny bit of the cranberry can be seen at the top of the cake, but the glaze should cover that. The wrapping overnight allows the soak to get into the cake. There just seems to be a lot of separate steps – make the cranberries, make the cake, make the soak – but once it all comes together it really is spectacular looking and tasting.
For next time:
- Definitely keep a closer eye on the cranberries. I think if they were juicier it would have been better. But too juicy would probably bleed into the cake.
- It may be that my measurements were off, but 2/3 of the batter may not be enough. The cranberries were awfully close to the top of the cake.
- Keep an eye on the cake once in the oven. Mine was ready in less than 55 minutes.
- Buy meyer lemons as soon as I next see them. Juice and zest and into the freezer.
So worth it and this will be gracing the center my Christmas table, this time with sugared cranberries all around!