This is that time where I cover my face with my hands and plead guilty to the fact that I'm SO behind schedule. It just figures that one of the few times where I actually hint at what's coming up next, I manage to flub things up and postpone everything to the last possible minute - when it's 99% likely that something won't go as planned. I swear this is a lesson I should have learned by now, but maybe the 100th time is the charm, or something like that...
On the other hand, the best things are totally, ALWAYS worth waiting for, a few days late or not, and this cake has officially been filed under "best things" - no questions asked. There are recipes that you expect to be showstoppers and absolutely are, and then there are the ones you expect to be good, but just maybe not knock-your-socks off good. This bundt cake is in a third category: the kind of recipe that you jump into with very little prior thought or planning, thinking that something pretty good might come out of it, only to be blown out of the water when it turns out really freakin' great. (And yes, we have to thank that - in part - to the magic of sweet vanilla bean whipped cream and juicy candied kumquats, but even without the embellishments, this one's a stunner.)
It's light and refreshing, loaded with sweet notes of vanilla and bright bursts of kumquat, and a lot like a pound cake with its tight but ultra-tender crumb. The difference is that it's nowhere near as heavy as a pound cake (definitely no pound of butter going on here), with a crisp flavor that screams "Hellooooo Spring" because of all those tangy-sweet kumquats. Every bite has this intoxicating combination of sweet vanilla and tart citrus, dense crumb and soft-enough-for-a-butter-knife tenderness, and cool winter fruit inspiration with bright spring vibes. And if you add that whipped cream (which really should never be a matter of "if") - you get the added contrast of light-as-air cream with perfectly dense cake. Throw in those candied kumquats for a little somethin' extra and you have yourself a fancy-pants springtime dessert that (bonus!) is really easy to make.Print
A light, fresh, and citrusy bundt cake with a tender, poundcake-like crumb and tangy bits of kumquat in every bite.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: one 9" bundt cake 1x
- Category: cakes and cupcakes
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: American
- 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces block-style cream cheese, softened
- 1 ¼ cups (248 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (optional)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (181 grams) buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups (223 grams) rinsed and chopped kumquats, seeds removed
- confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Vanilla Whipped Cream (for serving)
- Preheat oven to 325ºF and grease a 10-15 cup bundt pan with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a large bowl and handheld electric mixer), cream together the unsalted butter, cream cheese, sugar, and optional vanilla bean seeds on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, similar to the consistency of frosting.
- Using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and beater as needed, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing each in until fully incorporated. The mixture should be fluid and smooth.
- With mixer on its lowest speed, mix in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by the vanilla extract and half of the buttermilk, beating until partially incorporated. Continue in this manner, adding another third of the dry ingredients, the remaining buttermilk, and finally the remaining dry ingredients. The batter should be mostly smooth with just a few streaks of flour remaining.
- Add the chopped kumquats and fold in with a rubber spatula just until all of the ingredients are evenly combined into a thick batter.
- Transfer batter to bundt pan, making sure it reaches all of the nooks and crannies of the pan. Smooth the top out lightly with a spatula. Firmly rap the pan on your counter a few times to ensure the batter settles into the pan evenly.
- Bake cake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, just until a toothpick or cake tester inserted all the way into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 30 minutes, and then flip onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Dust cake with powdered sugar just before serving. Serve with vanilla whipped cream and candied kumquats, if desired.
Vanilla Whipped Cream
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl and handheld mixer, beat the cream on medium-high speed until beginning to thicken. Add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract/vanilla bean seeds and continue to beat just until thick enough to hold its shape.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- If using gluten-free flour, make sure your blend contains a binding agent like xanthan gum. Brands I recommend include Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour, King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour, and Cup 4 Cup Multipurpose Flour.
- To use salted butter, reduce the added salt to ½ teaspoon. Room temperature (solid) coconut oil will also work in this recipe.
- For best results, use full-fat cream cheese.
- Use my homemade buttermilk if you don't have the store-bought variety on hand.
- To remove kumquat seeds, I like to slice the fruit into quarters and then use the tip of my knife to gently pry out any visible seeds. Don't worry if you miss a few!
Storage and Shelf Life
- Store cake in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Once sliced, cover any exposed areas of the inside of the cake with plastic wrap to keep moist. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.