This Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake is especially dedicated to my friends who like a little booze in their baked goods. I baked this cake a few months ago in December, and it tastes and smells just like the holiday season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and is extra moist and tender from the apples. The bourbon glaze adds an adult kick to an otherwise wholesome cake.
Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake
Makes one bundt cake
(from NY Times Cooking)
My notes are in [ ] below.
2 sticks unsalted butter (226 grams) at room temperature, plus more to grease pan
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (315 grams) plus more to dust the pan
3 tablespoons (30 grams) bourbon or rye whiskey
½ cup (90 grams) candied ginger, chopped
1 ¾ cup (330 grams) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons (3 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 grams) fine sea salt
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
1 tablespoon (15 grams) vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon (5 grams) finely grated lemon zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples about a pound (454 grams) peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
1 cup (120 grams) finely chopped, toasted pecans
1/2 cup (80 grams) bourbon or rye whiskey [use a good quality bourbon]
½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (20 grams)
- Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. [Make sure to thoroughly prepare the pan as this cake can be a little delicate and stick to the pan after baking.]
- In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons bourbon and the candied ginger. Let stand 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and the 2 sticks of butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
- In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla.
- Pour in the bourbon from the ginger mixture (reserve ginger) into the sour cream and vanilla mixture, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the lemon zest.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the dry mixture and sour cream mixture to the wet mixture in three additions, alternating between the two.
- Fold in the ginger, apples, and pecans.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Cool in the pan 20 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides of the pan to release the cake; cool, flat side down, on a wire rack.
- While the cake cools, combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup bourbon in a small saucepan. Over low heat, gently stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice and take off the heat.
- While the cake cools, make 10 slits on top with a paring knife and pour half the bourbon-sugar mixture on the still-warm cake. When the cake is fully cool, flip it and pour the rest of the glaze on the other side, then flip again to serve. [I only used half of the glaze as I found the alcohol flavor a bit overwhelming, but that’s expected as I don’t drink alcohol.]
Of the many versions of lemon curd that I’ve made, Ina Garten’s seems to be the easiest and most foolproof to make. Typically making lemon curd requires some slightly fussy steps like separating the egg yolks from the whites, but this version uses the whole egg. This version also does not require straining the curd through a sieve to remove any egg white residue. The only change I would make is to reduce the sugar by 1/8 to 1/4 cup as the curd is quite sweet. I like to pair my lemon curd with a crisp, thin gingersnap, but I’ve heard of people who eat it straight from the spoon (I’m not naming any names).
Lemon Curd (Ina Garten’s version)
From Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
My notes are in [ ] below.
1 1/2 cups sugar [This lemon curd is quite sweet, so next time I’ll reduce the sugar to 1 1/4 cups]
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs [I happened to have extra-large eggs on hand which doesn’t occur very often. I’m not sure what the equivalent would be if you use large eggs.]
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. [I used a microplate lemon zester to zest the lemons instead of using the carrot peeler.].
- Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
- Cream the butter [I did this using a stand mixer].
- Beat in the sugar and lemon mixture.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time and mix well.
- Add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
- Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes) [it took about 15 minutes until my curd thickened, and I had to adjust the heat to low-medium], stirring constantly [stirring constantly is important because it keeps the egg from turning into scrambled eggs]. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer.
- Remove from the heat and cool. Store in the refrigerator.
My little citrus tree is a few years away from producing a solid crop, but luckily I have fantastic neighbors who keep me stocked with lemons from their backyard tree. This flavorful lemon and orange pound cake has a dense and tender texture, and the glaze creates the most crave worthy, chewy, slightly caramelized top . Since I had lemons to spare, I also made some lemon curd and slathered it on top of a slice of toasted citrus butter cake for an extra decadent breakfast.
Citrus Butter Loaf Cake
(from Johnny Iuzzini’s Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking)
Makes one 41⁄2 × 81⁄2-inch loaf cake (or one 9-inch round cake); serves 8 to 10
1⁄2 pound (2 sticks; 226 g) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the pan
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 1⁄2 cups (300 g) sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Grated zest of 1 orange
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons (45 g) buttermilk, at room temperature (I rarely have fresh buttermilk on hand so I use dried buttermilk powder)
3 tablespoons (45 g) fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons (45 g) fresh orange juice
1 1⁄2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (4 g) kosher salt
2 tablespoons buttermilk (30 g)
1 tablespoon honey (20 g)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Butter and flour a 41⁄2 × 81⁄2-inch loaf pan. Using this combination of butter and flour ensures that the sides will brown nicely.
- Stir together (by hand) the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer until the butter is coated.
- Attach the bowl to the mixer and using the paddle, beat the butter-sugar mixture on medium speed until it is well combined, and no lumps of butter remain, 5 minutes.
- Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, lemon juice, and orange juice.
- In another bowl, sift together the 2 cups (250 g) flour and the baking powder in a bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the top.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternate between adding the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 additions (begin and end with the dry ingredients).
- Scrape down the bowl several times, and mix the batter just until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula. On the middle rack of the oven, bake for 15 minutes (this step helps ensure a browned top). (For a 9-inch cake, bake at 375°F for 40 minutes, brush the top of the cake with the glaze, and then bake for an additional 5 minutes.)
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F, and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden brown, and a tester inserted into the thickest part comes out clean. Make sure not to underbake the cake, otherwise it will get even mushier as it cools. Rotate the pan halfway through to ensure even baking. Leave the oven on (as you’ll need to bake an additional few minutes after adding the glaze).
This glaze is absolutely delicious and creates a great texture for the top of the cake, so don’t skip this step.
- In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and honey until well combined.
- When the cake is done, brush the glaze evenly over the surface. Put the cake back into the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven, and let it cool completely in the pan on a rack before turning it out of the pan. Slice and serve.