Citrus Bundt Cake & Orange Trifle

Today’s delicious dish – Citrus Bundt Cake  

Citrus Bundt Cake - served

Sometimes I want to make a layer cake with fabulous frosting and maybe even a filling.  But sometimes I want to make something easier.  Bundt cakes are great non-fussy cakes.  The central tube and the fluted or decorated inside of the pan produce a nice-looking cake with lots of edges that brown beautifully.  A bundt cake doesn’t need filling or frosting – a simple glaze is just right.

I love cakes that are not too sweet, but still rich and substantial.  This cake is that and more – it has a lovely citrus flavor that is prominent, while the lemon-limey glaze tantalizes the taste buds.

It may feel like a lot of work to zest two lemons and three limes.  I find that it all depends on the tool I use.  I prefer a zester that has tiny holes with sharp edges; you just draw it across the citrus skin and it makes skinny strings of the peel.  If you use the type that is aCitrus Bundt Cake - zesting citrus very fine grater, you will have tiny bits of peel, which also works great.  People who are really good with a knife can zest a lemon or lime that way – but it takes more time and is more difficult.

Be sure to zest the lemons and limes before you juice them; you want the fruit to be plump and firm so it is easy to get at the tasty outer layer of peel.  And don’t skip the step of rolling the fruit over a countertop with firm pressure – this will burst the cell walls and release the maximum amount of juice.  I usually squeeze my citrus into a fine mesh strainer, to catch all the seeds.  When done, I stir the pulp in the strainer to let all the juice escape.

Feel free to use any type of yogurt you have or want to buy.  Full-fat yogurt will add some calories to the cake, but works just as well.  If you don’t care to use yogurt, you can substitute sour cream.

If you don’t have a bundt pan, this cake can be baked in two 8” round pans or in a 9” x 13” pan.  It will take less time to bake, so you will have to watch it carefully.

Be sure you fold in the citrus zest after mixing up the cake batter.  If it goes in while the beaters are working, the zest will gather and clump on the beaters, and will be a challenge to untangle.  Also be sure to follow the instructions regarding adding the eggs one at a time and beating for 30 seconds after each one.  All this beating will help to lighten and leaven the cake, and will keep it from being a flat greasy brick.

Citrus Bundt Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 ounces vanilla lowfat yogurt (1% milkfat)

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Reserved citrus juice (1 1/2 Tablespoons)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

To release juice, roll lemons and limes over countertop while pressing firmly.  Zest lemons and limes.  You should have about 2 Tablespoons (packed) citrus zest.  Juice lemons and limes.  You should have about 1/2 cup citrus juice.  Reserve 1 1/2 Tablespoons citrus juice to be used in glaze.  Set aside zest and remaining juice.

Beat softened butter until it is smooth – about 30 seconds.  Add sugar and beat until fluffy – about 1 minute.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating for about 30 seconds after each.

Add flour and baking powder and mix well.  Add yogurt and citrus juice and beat until completely combined and smooth.  Fold in citrus zest.

Turn batter into a greased and floured bundt pan.

Bake for 75 minutes (1 1/4 hours).  Remove from oven and cool on rack.  After 15 minutes, remove cake from pan onto cooling rack, and continue to cool for another hour.

Stir together softened butter, powdered sugar, and reserved citrus juice into a smooth glaze.  Spread over cake after it has cooled.

Makes 16 servings.

Nutritional information (per serving):  255 calories, 8.5 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrate, 25 grams sugars, 0 grams fiber, 76 milligrams cholesterol, 122 milligrams sodium

Cost per serving:  38 cents

Preparation time:  3 hours (including cooling time)


 What happens next?

This cake will keep for at least 5 days, and it also freezes nicely.  If you are freezing any cake, I suggest putting it into containers rather than bags, to protect the tender cake from rough handling.

For a wonderful treat, save 3 slices of this cake to make into an orange trifle.  If you plan to use frozen cake to make the next recipe, be sure to thaw it.


Another day’s delicious dish – Orange Trifle

Orange Trifle - 1 jar - open

Trifle is a traditional British dessert, consisting of layers of cake, jelly, fruit, custard, and whipped cream.  It is considered to be a way to bring slightly stale cake to life.  There are many ways to make trifle, depending on what kind of cake you have and what kind of fruit you have.

Here, the wonderful lemon and lime flavor of the Citrus Bundt Cake nicely complements orange gelatin, mandarin orange segments, vanilla pudding, and unsweetened whipped cream.  Even if the cake is a bit dried out or stale, it will get moistened by the gelatin and fruit juice and will be revived.

My family prefers trifle made into individual servings, so I usually do it in pint-size (16 ounce) wide mouth canning jars.  But any container (at least 12 ounce capacity) will work.  Maybe you have some really big wine glasses or brandy snifters, or some beautiful dessert dishes.  You might even want to use deli containers.  Whatever you choose, try to find something clear, so the beautiful layers of the dessert can be seen from the outside.

If you are trying to avoid added sugars and don’t mind artificial sweeteners, feel free to use sugar-free gelatin, water-packed mandarin oranges, and sugar free instant pudding. You can also use fat-free milk or whole milk, depending on what you prefer.  If you aren’t into whipping up your own heavy cream, any unsweetened whipped topping will fill the bill.

If you don’t have 3 servings of Citrus Bundt Cake saved, you can still make this dessert.  Substitute any plain lemon, white, or yellow cake.  If it had frosting on it, you probably want to scrape or trim that off.

Orange Trifle

  • 3 servings Citrus Bundt Cake
  • 15 ounce can Mandarin Oranges in Light Syrup
  • 3 ounce box orange flavored gelatin dessert (Jell-O)
  • about 1 cup water
  • 4 ounce box vanilla flavored instant pudding
  • 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Cut cake into cubes (about 1”).  You should have about 3 cups of cake cubes and crumbs.  Distribute cake evenly among 6 wide mouth pint size canning jars or other 2 cup containers.

Drain can of Mandarin Oranges, saving syrup in a measuring cup.  Add enough water to make 1 cup of liquid.  Heat this liquid to boiling in a small saucepan on stovetop.  Carefully stir in gelatin powder and bring back to a boil.  Quickly remove from heat (it will try to boil over).  Stir in 1 cup water.  Let gelatin cool for 5 minutes.

Divide Mandarin Orange segments among jars (about 10 pieces per jar), spreading over cake cubes.

Divide gelatin among canning jars (about 1/3 cup per jar), pouring over cake and oranges.  Gently press cake and oranges into gelatin.

Place filled jars in refrigerator to cool and set up.

Whisk together instant pudding and milk.  Place in refrigerator to thicken.

After 2 hours, gelatin and pudding should be set.  Whisk pudding well, then divide among jars (about 1/3 cup per jar).

Whip cream until stiff.  Divide whipped cream among jars (a generous 2 Tablespoons per jar).  Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information (per serving):  360 calories, 9.5 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 5 grams protein, 64 grams carbohydrate, 51 grams sugars, 0 grams fiber, 58 milligrams cholesterol, 361 milligrams sodium

Cost per serving:  87 cents 

Preparation time:  3 hours 

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