Posted by: scootrah | March 20, 2014

Life’s Better with Bundt! “Bundt-Fest” 2014

What is it about a Bundt cake that makes people happy? You just say the word “Bundt” and people start smiling or laughing. Part of Bundt’s beauty is that it isn’t a particular recipe, but the characteristic shape – a fluted pan with a chimney in the middle. Originally developed by Nordic Ware around 1950 at the request of members of the Minneapolis Jewish-American Hadassah Society, sales of the novelty pan limped along until 1966, when the classic “Tunnel of Fudge” Bundt won 2nd place at the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. Pillsbury had hundreds of thousands of requests for the pan, and sales of it soon eclipsed the tin Jello mold as the most popular pan sold in the United States.

A Bevy of Bodacious Bundts

A Bevy of Bodacious Bundts – the winning Golden Lemon Almond Bundt is the pretty petal-shaped cake in the lower right corner of the photo.

So anyway…fast forward to the recent production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” I was working backstage on at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and “BUNDT-FEST 2014!”  The first Fest was organized four years ago by Wardrobe Department Heads Marlys McDonald and Randy Werdal during a Broadway tour of “South Pacific”, but there hadn’t been another since then. If there was ever a show meant to be linked to Bundt cakes, it’s definitely Spamalot, so I set the wheels in motion for a remount.

As cast and crew began arriving for work, our table was soon laden with a spectacular bounty of Bundt baking to fuel the evening’s performance. Flavors included, chocolate, lemon, poppyseed, carrot-pineapple, a savory ham/gruyere/asparagus, monkey bread Bundt with Li’l Smokies, and an apple walnut, just to name a few. I went a little crazy myself, contributing a sour cream/rum with raspberries, a Bundt version of pineapple upside-down cake and a disappointing maple/bacon that I have to admit was a complete dud. 15 Bundts in all kept us on a high-octane sugar buzz throughout the night as people kept returning for another taste to cast votes for the “People’s Choice Award”.

My Sour Cream/Rum with Raspberries Bundt

My Sour Cream/Rum with Raspberries Bundt – voted “Prettiest Bundt”

When the crumbs were swept away and the votes counted, Mary Jones, the Director of the Hair and Make-Up Department, was awarded the highly-coveted “Best in Bundt” ribbon for her delicious Golden Lemon Almond Bundt – a dense and moist creation with a sweet almond perfectly contrasting the tart lemon throughout. She revealed that she’d never made a Bundt before, and now that she’d won top honors in the contest, her family was demanding an instant reprise of her creation.

As for my own entries, the sour cream/rum did win the most votes for “prettiest cake”, and the pineapple-upside down looked so great and was devoured so quickly that I’ve made it a couple more times with equally successful results. Everyone agreed “Bundt Fest” needs to be on the calendar more frequently than every four years, and to sum it up best, I’ll give you my favorite quote from one of the comment cards: “I vote they ALL WIN!” Ditto.

Here’s Mary’s delicious, winning Bundt recipe:

Golden Lemon Almond Bundt Cake

  • 2/3 cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/8 teaspoon lemon oil
  • 2 cups plus 3 Tblsp sifted, all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tblsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter

Lemon Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Set the oven to 350°F. Grease or spray the sides of the cake pan.

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes until golden, stirring once or twice to avoid burning. Cool completely then grind in a food processor until fine. Add 1/4 cup sugar and grind until very fine.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 1/4 cup of sour cream, vanilla and lemon oil just until combined.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a flat beater, mix the ground almonds, remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest about 30 seconds. Add the butter and remaining sour cream and mix on low until ingredients are moistened – another 30 seconds. Raise speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.

With mixer on medium low, add egg mixture in two parts, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the surface.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Just before the cake is done, make the lemon syrup by heating the sugar and lemon juice, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Do not boil it. Cover if not using right away.

Place the pan on a wire rack to cool, poke the cake all over with a thin skewer and brush it with 1/3 of the lemon syrup.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Brush the top and sides with the remaining syrup.

Mary J

Mary Jones – Winner of the Best Bundt at the 5th Avenue Theatre’s “Bundt-Fest 2014”!



  1. […] flops – most notably a maple/bacon bundt cake I tried to create earlier this year as part of “Bundt Fest”. But even with less-than-great bacon, it’s still BACON, so it wasn’t all bad – […]


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