Every year my husband takes a group of undergraduate students to a rainforest in South America over spring break. And every year I sulk for the two weeks he is gone because I haven’t had the opportunity to accompany them – yet. This year I decided it was time to stop whining. I planned to spend the entire spring break doing things I enjoy – reading, eating, sleeping in, and avoiding all laundry and house cleaning. Top on my list was to not make dinner for the two weeks he was gone. Instead the girls and I planned to eat at our favorite restaurants, or not eat, or eat just warm popcorn laced with M&M’s for dinner. (You really should try it – just pop the corn, pour some M&M’s over the top and wait about 5 minutes. When you take a bite the warm chocolate spills out of the crunchy M&M shell and mixes with the salty popcorn. Yummmm.) So I stopped cooking the day he left. After a while I started to panic because I was enjoying my cooking hiatus a little too much. What if I didn’t want to start again?
I shouldn’t have worried because after about a week I started to get the itch to bake, which is very different than making dinner. I baked the things Scott doesn’t really love, things with cooked fruit in them like banana bread (this one was punctuated with chocolate and crystalized ginger) and lemon cake. The lemon cake was the perfect antidote to my end-of-winter-when-will-my-husband-get-home blues. I combined several recipes into one cake and was not disappointed. It came out yellow and fresh and tart and sweet and especially moist. I contemplated naming it “Spring Break Lemon Cake” but when I walked into work with my new creation one of my nursing friends pointed out that it was the first day of spring. It was just too perfect – the first day of spring, a lovely lemon cake, and my husband due to return home at midnight. So from now on I will celebrate the first day of spring by making this lemon cake. And next year, if I am lucky enough to be in the jungles of Ecuador on the first day of spring I will make the cake the day I get home.
First Day of Spring Lemon Bundt Cake
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (13.5 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup well-stirred plain whole-milk yogurt (not low fat or nonfat)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon yogurt
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (8 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking
spray with flour (although it’s not as easy, you could brush the Bundt pan with a mixture of 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon melted butter instead).
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, and eggs, stirring to mix
well. Add the flour mixture and stir to just combine. Add the oil
and stir well. Don’t worry – at first it will look like an oily mess,
just keep stirring and it will all come together. Pour batter into the
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center
comes out clean. Be careful to not over-bake.
While cake is baking prepare the glaze: whisk 2 tablespoons lemon
juice, yogurt, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more
lemon juice gradually as needed until glaze is thick but still
Cool cake in pan on wire rack set over a baking sheet or parchment
paper for 10 minutes, then invert cake directly onto rack. Brush or
pour half of glaze over warm cake and let cool for 1 hour; spoon
remaining glaze evenly over top of cake and continue to cool to room
temperature, at least 2 hours.