The secret Jewish history of National Bundt Cake Day

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

There is nothing like a Bundt cake. A staple of potluck and Shabbat dinners (or, more accurately, the dessert portion of those meals), Bundt cakes were popularized in the 1950s after members of a Minneapolis Hadassah chapter asked a local manufacturer to replicate a favorite German ceramic cake mold.

With Nov. 15 being National Bundt Cake Day, I am turning to Paula Shoyer and Irvin Lin for Bundt tips and recipes.

Shoyer, author of “The Kosher Baker,” and Lin, a San Francisco baking expert, both say it’s important to grease and flour the Bundt pan very well. They also stress that the cake should be unmolded while still warm. If it won’t release, their advice is to rewarm it and/or gently loosen the cake with a thin knife.

Paula Shoyer’s Orange Tea Cake

Makes 12-15 servings

Adapted from “The Kosher Baker”

  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Earl Grey tea bag
  • 2 tsp. plus 2 cups sugar
  • Oil spray
  • 2 Tbs. plus 2½ cups flour
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs. orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • Glaze (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine boiling water, tea bag and 2 tsp. sugar. Stir. Set aside. Grease large Bundt pan with oil spray. Sprinkle in 2 Tbs. flour, shaking out excess. In bowl of electric mixer, place 2 cups sugar, eggs, oil, 2½ cups flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, orange zest and orange juice. Mix on medium speed until combined. Squeeze out tea bag into tea. Add tea to batter. Mix 2 minutes.

Pour into pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes. Turn cake onto rack and cool completely. Drizzle with glaze.

Glaze: Steep a fresh Earl Grey tea bag in ½ cup boiling water. Sift 1 cup powdered sugar into bowl. Add 2 Tbs. tea. Whisk until smooth and pourable. Let stand 5 minutes.

Irvin Lin’s Gingerbread and Lemon-Poppy Seed Marble Bundt Cake

Makes 10-12 servings

Adapted from “Marbled, Swirled, and Layered”

  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. plus 2¾ cups flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • Glaze (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan with 1 Tbs. butter. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs. flour. Tap out excess.

Combine milk with juice. Let stand. Place sugar, remaining butter and zest in bowl of stand mixer. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Add vanilla and lemon extracts. Beat. Add eggs, individually, beating and scraping down the bowl in between. Add baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt. Beat until absorbed. Add ⅓ of the flour, beat, add ½ of lemon-milk mixture. Beat. Repeat. Add remaining flour. Beat, scraping down as needed.

Remove ⅓ of batter to a separate bowl. Mix in molasses, ground ginger, cinnamon and crystallized ginger. This is now known as the gingerbread batter. Stir poppy seeds into remaining original batter, now known as the lemon batter.

Spoon ½ lemon batter into pan. Top with gingerbread batter and then remaining lemon batter. Use a chopstick to swirl Figure 8 patterns throughout batter. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until skewer comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Invert and cool completely. Drizzle with glaze.

Glaze: Whisk together 1½ tsp. lemon extract, ¼ cup milk and 2 cups powdered sugar. Gradually add up to ½ cup powdered sugar, as needed, until the glaze is the consistency of honey.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].