High Country Baking: The lemon rosemary bundt cake that will elevate everything you serve it with
Special to the Daily
High altitudes make cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column, published on Thursdays, presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
I like a pastry that rises to any occasion, like this one. After dinner, glazed and accompanied by blueberry sauce and fresh berries, it’s a dessert. Present it plain at breakfast, and it’s a sweet bread. Its tender texture and citrusy goodness shine whenever you serve it and elevate whatever you serve with it.
It’s highly flexible and eager to please. Don’t have olive oil? Use a mild-flavored vegetable oil instead. Not sure about the rosemary? Reduce the amount or omit it altogether. Out of yogurt? Substitute sour cream or buttermilk. Feel free to increase the lemon to your liking, the amount in the recipe results in a mild flavor and add vanilla for a more complex taste. The Bundt needs to rest at least 24 hours before serving, so plan ahead.
Use a serrated knife to mince the rosemary, it will hold the tiny leaves in place while you’re chopping them, so they don’t spray all over your cutting surface.
Lemon-Rosemary-Olive Oil Bundt
Adjusted for elevations of 8,000 feet and above
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Make in a 6-cup non-stick Bundt pan
1 ½ cups plus 3 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour (spoon and level)
Scant (a little less than) 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons dried or 3-4 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
3/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 (one) lemon or ¼ teaspoon lemon oil
3 large or jumbo eggs, room temperature
½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon mildly flavored extra virgin olive oil
Lemon Glaze, optional
1-3 tablespoons cream
1-3 teaspoons lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon lemon oil
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the center. Generously grease the pan, including the center tube, with a baking spray that contains flour.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary in a bowl and whisk to mix well. Set aside.
3. Add the sugar and lemon zest or lemon oil to a medium mixing bowl and use your clean fingertips to rub them together until the sugar absorbs some of the lemon and the citrus smell is evident. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then add the yogurt and whisk again, until well blended. Gently use the whisk or a silicone spatula to fold in the olive oil. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, gently folding it into the batter until it’s absorbed after each addition. Check the bowl bottom and sides to make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
4. Scrape the shiny, thick batter into the prepared pan, filling it no more than two inches from the top, even if you have some batter left over. Bake until a tester inserted in several places comes out clean and the baked batter starts to pull away from the pan sides. Start checking at 27 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, invert the pan and let the cake fall out. Let it cool completely on a rack and then cover well. Store at cool room temperature or in the ‘fridge for 24 hours before serving. It can be frozen successfully.
5. To glaze: When the cake has cooled completely, place a tablespoon of cream and a teaspoon of lemon juice or a few drops of lemon oil in a small bowl, add ½ cup confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth and blended. Add more sugar, lemon juice/ oil, and/or cream, a little at a time, whisking after each addition, until you have about ½-cup of glaze. It should be opaque, thick, but still pourable, and have a lemon flavor that’s pleasing to you. Drizzle it over the cake top and let it run down the sides. Let the glaze set before storing the cake (see #4).
Dr. Vera Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks (available at The Bookworm in Edwards, Next Page Bookstore in Frisco). She’s lived in the Rockies since 1991 and has been developing and adjusting recipes so that they work at our altitude ever since. Contact her at email@example.com.