Bundt Cake with Flowers in the Center

Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Bundt Cake

AS IF … Lady Bird Johnson’s legacy wasn’t spectacular enough already, I recently discovered that she also left us with her Lemon Bundt Cake recipe. Knowing that Lady Bird believed that any square inch of the world was better with flowers than without them, Anna found a small glass to put in the center of the cake and filled it with flowers. I’ve copied her actual recipe below, but when I made this cake, I more than doubled both the lemon juice and lemon zest, because that’s just what I do when any recipe calls for either. I also cooked up a quick blueberry topping, which I touted as a little tribute to the bluebonnets that have started to burst into bloom all over our Central Texas hillsides and highways.

Lady Bird Johnson's Lemon Bundt Cake witha  Blueberry Topping

Lady Bird Johnson championed the planting of native wildflowers along highways and roadsides as vigorously as she championed Civil Rights and Head Start, and in light of her belief that, “where flowers bloom, so does hope,” I believe that she viewed all of these missions in a similar light.

Iconic Lady Bird Johnson photo in a field of her beloved bluebonnets
Iconic Lady Bird Johnson photo in a field of her beloved bluebonnets

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 10 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Blueberry topping*

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 325.
  • Coat a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Incorporate the beaten egg yolks.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and re-sift another three times.  Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix until incorporated.  Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and beat for about 2 minutes.
  • Cook for 60 minutes or until a tester, inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing cake onto a plate.
  • Top each slice with 2 Tbsp. of warm blueberry topping.

*Blueberry Topping

  • 12 oz. frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. raw sugar
  • 1 tsp. flour

Directions

  • Combine blueberries lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir until blueberries are thawed and the mixture comes to a gentle boil.
  • Combine 2 Tbsp. of the juice from the cooking blueberries with 1 tsp. of flour, and stir vigorously to eliminate any lumps. Add juice back into the blueberries and stir again, heating until a light syrup forms.
  • Allow to cool slightly and serve over lemon cake slices.

Here’s a copy of the Lemon Bundt Cake that Mary Quiner made for Easter Dinner. Beautiful!

lemon bundt cake

4 thoughts on “Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Bundt Cake”

  1. Have you been reading my mind. I was just thinking about making a bundt cake and this lemonly one sounds like just the thing.

  2. Perfect, I wanted to make something for Easter dinner desert and I cannot think of anything that sounds better than this.

    1. Great idea, I think we’ll do the same. To take it up a notch for Easter, you could fill a tiny vase, or some sort small container with water (we’ve used the short, plastic spice containers) and put it in the center of the bundt cake filled with flowers. I’ll switch out the photo when we do that. If you send me a photo of your cake, I’ll post it, as well.

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