Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake from Sarabeth’s

Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake recipe from Sarabeth's Good Morning cookbook | Photo by Zoë François

There are a few basic recipes you can try in a cookbook to get a sense of the quality of the book. I always go for the banana bread, pound cakes or a classic Bundt. I know they sound too simple to give any indication of a chef’s worth, but the simple recipes are the hardest. They can’t hide behind icing or sauces. If they don’t stand perfect as they are, then chances are the rest of the recipes won’t either.

I recently got a copy of Sarabeth Levine’s newest book, Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook. For those of you who don’t know Sarabeth, she is a pastry chef who has had an acclaimed restaurant in NYC for decades. I first visited Sarabeth’s when I was in high school in the 1980s. My aunt, Melissa, lived in Manhattan and I’d go into the city from Connecticut to visit her. Brunch at Sarabeth’s became our tradition. I remember having a popover and marmalade for the first time and I was in love. Both the popovers and a Mandarin Orange spread are in her cookbook, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.

The lemon Bundt cake is perfect. It is the most delicate texture and rich flavor. I had rather small lemons and wanted it to be an intense flavor, so I added more zest. I also had a chunk of ginger on hand, so I added it to the lemon soaking syrup, but otherwise the recipe is all Sarabeth. 

Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake recipe from Sarabeth's Good Morning cookbook | Photo by Zoë François

Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe

from Sarabeth’s Good Morning cookbook

3 cups (426 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest (I used 3 because my lemons were small)

2 1/2 cups (490 grams) super fine sugar (I used regular granulated sugar and it came out just great)

2/3 cup (174 grams) plain yogurt

1/3 cup (75 grams) whole milk

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces.

5 large eggs, at room temperature.

Lemon soaking syrup:

1/3 cup (84 grams) fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup (98 grams) sugar

1-inch ginger, sliced thin (optional)

To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Butter and flour a 10-cup (9-inch) Bundt pan.

Whisk together the flour, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake recipe from Sarabeth's Good Morning cookbook | Photo by Zoë François

In another medium bowl, rub the sugar and zest together. This helps to spread the lemon flavor throughout the cake.

Whisk the yogurt, milk and lemon juice together.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Slowly add the lemon sugar and continue beating until light in texture and color, about 5 minutes. Don’t skimp on this step, since it is crucial to the texture of your cake.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

Reduce the speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour. Add half the yogurt. Repeat with another 1/3 flour mixture, followed by the yogurt and finishing with the flour. Scraping the bowl as you go.

Put the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.

Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean.*

Allow the lemon bundt cake to rest in the pan for 10 minutes.

*Make the soaking syrup:

Mix the lemon, sugar and ginger together until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to sit while the cake bakes.

Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake recipe from Sarabeth's Good Morning cookbook | Photo by Zoë François

Turn out onto a serving dish.

Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake recipe from Sarabeth's Good Morning cookbook | Photo by Zoë François

While the lemon bundt cake is still warm, brush the entire surface with the lemon soaking syrup.

Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake recipe from Sarabeth's Good Morning cookbook | Photo by Zoë François

Serve for breakfast or dessert. Would be lovely with berries or fresh fruit, but it really needs nothing at all.

The publisher kindly sent me a copy of the book for review.

10 thoughts to “Perfect Lemon Bundt Cake from Sarabeth’s”

  1. I think our food storage room has as many bundt cake pans as Nordic Ware has in their showroom. Which is 5 mintues from our home…until they close Hwy 7 for a year! I’m going to make this cake. I have Lactose free yogurt which is vanilla flavored. I could go buy unflavored lactose free yogurt, but, why not use a vanilla flavored yogurt? It should work just fine. I also have both fresh ginger root and candied ginger on hand…why not use the candied ginger? It will help me to use it up and it should go perfectly with your modification of this recipe.

    1. Hi Stu,

      I need to stop by Nordic Ware, I am in need of a few more Bundt pans.

      The vanilla yogurt will work just fine, the only thing to keep in mind is that it has sugar in it, so you may want to reduce the sugar by a tablespoon.

      The candied ginger will not impart as strong a flavor, unless you chop it very small and fold it into the batter before baking. That could be a great addition to the cake. If you try it, let me know!

      Cheers, Zoë

    2. So jealous Stu! I’ve never made a bundt cake and do not own a single bundt cake pan. Every time we go to Sur La Table to dream my daughter drools over all the Nordic Ware pans.

  2. I have just recently made a bunt cake for the first time. This cake sounds wonderful. I love the addition of ginger. I have two questions. First, the recipe I did try was a lemon and ginger cake as well. The ginger flavor was wonderful in the batter but you could just barely taste it in the finished cake. Is that what yours is like? Should they just be a hint of it in the cake? I don’t know if I did something wrong. I am really looking forward to trying your recipe.
    Second question. We live at 6000 feet and sometimes that can be a problem in baking. Do you have any thoughts on high altitude for trying your cake?

    1. Hi Peggy,

      The ginger is a very subtle flavor. In fact, it may go unnoticed if you didn’t tell people it is there. If you want to create a stronger flavor, you can try mincing 1/4 cup candied ginger and folding it into the batter.

      Tell me what the issues have been with your cakes at high altitude?

      Thanks, Zoë

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