The bundt is such a strange throw-back cake. The classic shape has been popular in Jewish and Polish baking going back to the 19th century, but it took the 1966 Pillsbury bake off to make it a sensation. The “Tunnel of Fudge” cake was a runner up, and an instant hit – propelling the bundt pan (and it’s manufacturer – Nordic Ware) to fame and fortune.
In my opinion, the shape of the bundt doesn’t have much to do with it’s lasting popularity. I think it’s the fact that the majority of cakes baked in bundt pans are super high fat. Rich, tender, so delicious – when you see a bundt you know you need a glass of milk and a napkin. I’m definitely going to attempt some version of the “Tunnel of Fudge” in the near future, but in the meantime, I have my version of the classic, Lemon Poppyseed.
I love a strong lemon flavor, which explains the 1/4 cup of zest (it’s a pain, but worth it!), and the bit of crunchy and nuttiness from the poppy seeds is key. I tried this in loaf form, but honestly, my favorite were the mini bundts. They got golden brown without losing their moisture, and they’re just so cute. Enjoy!
8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup canola oil
2 3/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup lemon zest, packed, from about 6 large lemons
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons poppy seeds
INGREDIENTS (FOR THE GLAZE)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour mini bundt pans (if silicon, you don’t need to grease them) or 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans.
Cream the butter, canola oil, and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, half and half, and vanilla. Add the flour and half and half mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Bake on the middle oven rack for 50-60 minutes (about 20 minutes for small tins) or until a toothpick comes out clean near the center. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the cake by knocking it against the counter. Invert the cake onto a serving platter.
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
For the glaze, combine all ingredients, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.