Let me warn you right now. If you buy a copy of Nigella Lawson’s latest cook book, Simply Nigella, you will end up also buying a bundt cake tin. It may be that you have no desire or room for another piece of kitchen equipment and it may be that you object to buying a tin that is basically the same as tins you already own but with a bit more fluting and pizzazz to it. But that’s all beside the point. Resistance is futile.
The domestic goddess just includes too many delicious sounding recipes involving bundt tins that you have to be a stronger woman (or man!) than me to resist guiltily purchasing one. As the owner of a frivolous and unnecessary bundt tin I was of course determined to use it so I settled on the lemon and thyme bundt cake recipe for my mum’s birthday.
The skill in making a bundt cake is of course in getting the damn thing out of the tin. I was very, very precise with my melted butter application in greasing the tin and then I hoped with everything I had when I inverted it to release the cake. Success!
The other thing that made me initially baulk at this recipe was the use of thyme, a savoury herb, in a sweet. Don’t be concerned though. Nigella knows what she is talking about and the thyme adds an interesting rather than weird flavour to the cake. So what’s stopping you? Head out and buy that bundt tin.
- 3 cups plain flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 200g unsalted butter
- 2 unwaxed lemons
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
- Non-stick cooking spray (or vegetable oil and plain flour for greasing)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 170c, slipping in a baking tray at the same time.
- 2. Spray the inside of your bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray, or brush on a paste made of 2 teaspoons of flour mixed with 2 teaspoons of oil, making sure you get into all the crevices of the pan. Be meticulous about this! Leave the bundt pan upside down over a piece of newspaper or parchment paper while you get on with making the cake batter.
- 3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl, and fork to mix.
- 4. Put the butter in the bowl of a freestanding mixer or a regular mixing bowl, grate in the zest of both lemons, and beat until creamy.
- 5. Strip ¼ cup of thyme leaves from the sprigs, and add along with the sugar, and beat again until you have a light fluffy mixture.
- 6. One by one, beat in the eggs and, after the last one, slow down your mixing and add a third of the flour mixture, followed by a third of the buttermilk, and so on until both the flour mixture and buttermilk are used up.
- 7. Beat in the juice of one of the lemons and transfer this mixture to the prepared bundt pan. Place on the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 1¼ hours, though start checking after 1 hour.
- 8. When a cake tester comes out clean, remove the cake to a wire rack and leave in its pan for 15 minutes before carefully unmoulding. Fingers crossed!
- 9. When the cake is cool sift the icing sugar into a bowl and beat in the juice of the remaining lemon until you have a glaze that is thin enough to run down the cake and sprinkle with thyme leaves.
- Make your own buttermilk by adding lemon juice to milk and leaving for five minutes to curdle.