Some of you may remember my last attempt at making a scratch lemon bundt cake. In a word…DISASTER!
While I was able to salvage bits of cake crumbs into something edible, it was not the moist, firm slice of zesty lemon cake with crackly sweet glaze that I was craving. It was just a matter of time before I gave it another go, but this time rather than search endlessly online for the perfect recipe, I decided to rely on my memory and bake the Lemon Pudding Bundt Cake that became a staple during those lean years when my kids were little and ingredients were precious. And I learned something about life and myself with my little kitchen experiment.
Every day we’re bombarded with marketing pitches to nip, tuck, improve, beautify, educate, build muscle, lose fat, feel better, find love and get wherever it is we’re going perfectly coifed, on time and in style! And while I have nothing against these things, sometimes it is best to stick with what one knows…on what is tried and true. Doing this does not mean one is stagnant or giving up on life. Routine can be a comfortable and grounding place to land for a spell.
There’s a reason we hold onto things. Why we can’t quite bring ourselves to part with that old sweater from high school, or that faded pressed rose between the pages of a favorite book, or why our best recipes are the ones in the back of the junk drawer, stained with butter and vanilla. I didn’t need to mess with perfection by trying something new and improved. Like Dorothy clicking those ruby slippers I had it in me all along!
Here’s the recipe I remember (in case you want to try it):
Lemon Pudding Bundt Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees.
Combine the dry ingredients:
2 boxes of instant Jello lemon pudding (the brand matters – no generics)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp of baking powder
1 cup sugar (I’ve converted to organic raw and it worked ok)
…and then the wet ingredients in a separate bowl:
1 stick of butter (not margarine)
1 tsp or so of vanilla
1-1/2 cups of milk (use the kind with a little fat in it – I use whole)
Whip the wet until frothy and then add to the dry beating until fully blended and the batter is fluffy (I like to give it a few minutes)
The batter will be thick. Pour into a greased/floured Bundt pan and bake for about an hour until the top looks like this…
The center will still be too moist. Cover the top with foil to keep the cake from over browning and bake an additional 10 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan until it is no longer hot to the touch. Top with this glaze…
About a cup of powdered sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a dot of vanilla and enough milk to make the glaze wet enough to drizzle down the sides of the cake. And if you’re feeling sassy and pleased with yourself like I am this very moment, sprinkle some lemon zest on top! Go ahead, go crazy!
If your cake doesn’t look exactly like this, don’t worry. Baking is an art form best practiced and practiced from the heart! And you know what they say about heart stuff…”home is where”…you know the rest.