Cake Starts a Celebration

Lemon-thyme bundt cake is a perfect treat to share

Cake always takes center stage in our house. It’s no wonder; the prospect of sneaking a moist, icing-covered morsel lights up my kids’ faces, while savoring a slice after they go to bed lights up mine. Cake is the perfect food to share with friends, family and neighbors, and often means a celebration—or provides an excuse to start one! I invite you to celebrate my inaugural Dining In column for Madison Magazine by sharing one of my favorite cakes: lemon-thyme bundt cake. My version of this classic bundt cake is infused with the flavors of my travels and our local bounty. The lemon zest and olive oil recall my trips to Africa; the eggs and sour cream honor Wisconsin farmers; the thyme reminds me that gardening season has arrived! There are so many ways to connect a community, but for me, enjoying great food together takes the cake.

RECIPE: Lemon-Thyme Bundt Cake

INGREDIENTS

Cake:
Butter, softened
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups cane sugar
1 cup light sour cream
3/4 cup good-quality olive oil
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Glaze:
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp cane sugar
1 tbsp orange liqueur
5 to 6 two-inch sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and dust flour inside bundt pan. In large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl beat egg yolks with a mixer until they are light and creamy.  Mix in sugar. Add sour cream and olive oil, mixing until combined. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.  Add dry mixture to wet ingredients in two parts, scraping down bowl. Mix until just combined. In another bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, slowly fold egg whites into batter until just incorporated. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake about 40–50 minutes, or until knife inserted into cake comes out clean. Place foil or a baking sheet under a cooling rack. Transfer cake pan to wire rack to cool, about 20 minutes. Loosen sides and invert cake onto rack.

To make glaze, gently heat all ingredients until butter melts and sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Let stand 10 minutes. Strain thyme out of glaze. Brush glaze over warm cake, a bit at a time, until it soaks in.

Top cake with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh thyme leaves if desired.

Otehlia Cassidy is a Madison writer and cook with a passion for local foods and culinary adventures. Find more on her new blog, Local Flavor.

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