High Country Baking: Poppy Seed Bundt with Blueberry Glaze
High Country Baking
High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
Two bowls plus ten minutes of active time and this pretty Bundt cake is in the oven. Just mix the dry ingredients together, do the same with the wet ones, combine the two, and you’re done. The glaze, if you choose to use it, takes even less time. Really, it can’t get any easier and you’ll love the results. The cake is moist and light, with a lovely, even crumb, the delightful crunch of poppy seeds, and the pleasing flavor of vanilla. The gorgeous glaze fancies it up and adds sweetness and a little pop of lemon.
Don’t have any buttermilk? No worries, use ¼ cup of plain yogurt or sour cream mixed with ¼ cup of regular milk instead of the ½ cup of buttermilk called for in the recipe.
Poppy Seed Bundt with Blueberry Glaze
Make in a 6-cup capacity non-stick Bundt pan
Adjusted for altitudes of 7,800 feet and above
1 ¼ (one and a fourth) cups plus 2 ½ (two and a half) tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour, spoon and level
½ (one half) cup plus 2 (two) tablespoons superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s
¼ (one fourth) teaspoon baking soda
½ (one half) teaspoon salt
½ (one half) cup plus 3 (three) tablespoons canola oil
½ (one half) cup buttermilk
1 (one) large egg, room temperature
½ (one half) teaspoon white vinegar
1 (one) teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (one) tablespoon poppy seeds
¼ (one fourth) cup frozen blueberries
¼ (one fourth) teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ (one fourth) teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 (one) teaspoon milk
¾ (three fourths) cup confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the center position. Generously grease the pan with a baking spray that contains flour (yes, even if it’s non-stick). Set the pan aside.
2. Make the cake: Add the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk until the ingredients are well blended. In a 2-cup capacity measuring cup or small bowl, combine the canola oil, buttermilk, egg, vinegar and vanilla extract and whisk to combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl to make sure all of it is added, and whisk only until a smooth batter (no lumps) forms. Gently stir in the poppy seeds.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth and level the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the sides of the cake start to pull away from the pan, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, cool it on a rack for 15 minutes, invert it onto the rack, let the cake fall out of the pan, and cool it completely. If you’re not glazing it immediately, cover it as soon as it’s cool.
4. Glaze the cake: Place the frozen blueberries in a 16-ounce measuring cup with a spout and let them thaw completely. They should be very soft and juicy. To speed up the process, you can defrost them at a low-medium temperature in a microwave oven. Mash them with the back of a spoon to get all the juices out; if necessary, squeeze the berries with clean fingers until empty skins are left in your hand. Discard the skins; don’t worry if a few pieces remain mixed in with the juice. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and milk and whisk to combine. Start adding confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, and whisk to blend well after each addition. Keep adding sugar until the mixture thickens but is still easy to pour. If it gets too thick, whisk in a little more milk. Give it a taste and adjust the lemon and/or vanilla to your liking. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and let it run down the cake’s sides. Allow the glaze to set up before serving.
This recipe is a variation of one published by Joy the Baker.
Dr. Vera Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks (available at The Bookworm in Edwards and Next Page Bookstore in Frisco). She’s lived in the mountains since 1991 and has been developing and adjusting recipes so that they work at our altitude ever since. Contact her at email@example.com.