A fun and unique cake recipe using the aromatic flavours of fresh bay leaves. My Bay Leaf Cake is a pound cake style recipe made with bay-infused heavy cream for a moist and flavourful bake.
Have you ever tried baking (or bay-king) with bay? Bay is a subtle flavour that works well in many dishes. While most common in savoury food, its uses need not be so restricted. I've found it a great addition in many baked goods. Usually it is best used to accent and provide warmth. In this bay leaf cake recipe, however, the bay shines as the dominant flavour. The preparation takes a bit of patience, but the rewards are worth it!
Tell me about this recipe
- Loaded with bay - this recipe for a bay leaf cake is infused with the aromatic flavours of fresh bay, working well with the cream to build richness.
- Pound cake style cake - a moist and dense pound cake style bake, these bay cakes are a simple recipe, amplified with flavour.
- Cute mini cakes - th
Why Bake with Bay?
I've mentioned my epic bay tree before, but for those that are stopping by this page for the first time, let me explain. Essentially, the story is quite simple: I have a massive bay tree in the backyard. In practice, it blocks out the sun. A few months ago, a neighbour came by to help us cut it back. On a dark winter's night, armed with a hack saw, he climbed the tree and gave it a trim. It did the job for the moment, but left us with about 20 branches laden with bay leaves strewn in our back garden. I've slowly been working my way through these. I've tasked myself with creating as many bay bakes as possible!
The following recipe is a slightly tweaked version of my blackberry bay donuts, with more explicit emphasis on the bay and less on other spices and berries. The bay leaves in this are the centre-piece and not the supporting cast. In order to bring them to life, however, a little preparation is required in the form of the bay cream.
For this recipe, once you've made your infused cream, the rest is super simple! Just some cupboard staples and a bit of optional spice.
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature.
- Sugar - either granulated sugar or caster sugar work best here.
- Eggs - large eggs, ideally at room temperature for baking.
- Vanilla extract - I always highly recommend using a good quality vanilla for your baking, particularly in a recipe such as this where it will be key to the flavour enhancement.
- Flour - either all-purpose flour or plain flour work in this recipe.
- Baking powder
- Ground cardamom - this is optional, but I found it complements the bay flavour without taking away from it.
- Heavy cream - or double cream. You can also use full fat or whole milk in this recipe, but the cake will be less rich.
- Bay leaves - I recommend using fresh bay for the strongest flavour during the infusion, but dried bay will work here too. The specific measurements of bay leaves in this recipe are essentially just guidelines. The fresher your bay leaves, the stronger the flavour they are likely to impart.
Infusing Cream with Bay
The key element to these bay leaf bundt cakes, is ensuring that you infuse the flavour of the bay as much as possible. While it is possible to grind and ingest bay leaf, you're more likely to find the whole leaves either fresh or dried in stores. As such, most recipes involving bay use the whole leaves during cooking to infuse sauces and remove these prior to serving.
Taking the same general principle as a sauce, the bay-infusion of cream is about simmering bay leaves in the cream to impart the flavour. For maximum flavour, I opted to use about ten leaves in a cup of cream.
- Start by adding the cream to a saucepan along with the bay leaves. Tip: folding the leaves in half will help to release the bay aromas.
- Slowly heat the cream over a low heat over the course of an hour, stirring occasionally to avoid it forming a skin.
- After about an hour, the cream will have reduced by about half. You'll need half a cup of bay cream for this recipe. If you over-reduce, you can top up to the half a cup with some milk or cream. If you find you have over half a cup, save the remainder - you could make a glaze with a bit of powdered sugar!
- Set the cream aside to cool before using.
How to Make Bay Cake
This recipe for bay pound cake will make 6 mini bundt cakes, 12 baked donuts or 1 small bundt cake. The process for the batter will follow the same steps, no matter the baking pan!
- Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175C/160C Fan) and prepare your chosen pans.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients - the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
- In a separate large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine your butter and sugar. Beat this on low to medium speed until well combined, light and fluffy.
- Next, add your eggs to the sugar mixture, one at a time. Beat well after each addition and then add the vanilla.
- Once this is mixed, slowly add your flour, and stir through with a spatula or beat on a low setting until just incorporated. The batter at this stage will be fairly dry so it is important not to beat too quickly or this will go flying everywhere!
- Finally add your infused cream. Mix until evenly combined, but avoid over-beating.
- Pour the batter into your cake tins, spread evenly and bake in the centre of the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Using Different Baking Pans for this Recipe
The size and shape of your cake tins will have an impact on your preparation, method of filling the pans and ultimately the baking time.
Mini Bundt Pan
- Preparation of the pan - I highly recommend using greasing and flouring for all my cake pans. But, with an intricately shaped bundt or mini bundt, you may prefer using a non-stick spray if you have one available. Ensure you cover all the crevices well to avoid sticking!
- Filling - spooning or piping the batter can be handy in a mini bundt pan as even pouring can often be unmanageable in the small spaces.
- Baking - mini bundts bake in about 30-40 minutes, but keep an eye on them as the specific timings will depend on the shape/size of the pan.
Standard Bundt Pan
- Preparation - again, greasing and flouring remains my preferred method here. However, similar to the mini bundt pans, the nature of an intricate design may make it easier to use a non-stick spray, especially if you have one you trust! Make sure to get in all the corners and edges.
- Filling - for a larger bundt pan, it should be possible to simply pour the batter carefully around the central hole. Then spread evenly with a spatula or knife.
- Baking - baking this as one cake means that the cake will take longer to bake. Keep an eye on it, but expect it to take about an hour, again dependent on the specific pan used.
- Preparation - preparation of a donut pan depends on the specific pan being used. I tend to use a silicone pan, which doesn't require any greasing or flouring. If you use a metal pan, you'll need to grease, flour or spray this as normal to prevent sticking.
- Filling - for filling a donut pan you should really use a piping bag (or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off). This will be significantly easer that trying to pour or spoon the batter.
- Baking - donuts are smaller cakes than the mini bundts and will usually cook more quickly. Check these after about 20 minutes and keep an eye on them. They can still be tested with a toothpick in the same way as the other bakes.
- Bay is a unique flavour, which is difficult to describe. It is aromatic and can be almost mint-like. The recipe for the infusion here will give you a strongly bay flavoured cream, but this won't be overpowering in the recipe. You can add more bay leaves for a stronger infusion or less for a weaker one.
- Allowing the cream to cool down is essential before proceeding with this recipe. If it is too hot, it will impact the consistency of the butter and may curdle the eggs.
- Piping this batter can make your life a lot easier, especially if using a smaller pan. If you don't have a piping bag at hand, you can use a ziploc or plastic sandwich bag. This will work best if it has sharp corners. Just fill the bag and snip off a corner to create about a half inch opening to use for piping.
- Dust with powdered sugar - the simplest option for any pound cake or bundt cake is a simple powdered sugar dusting. My top tip for this simple topping is to wait for the cake to cool completely. Adding powdered sugar to a cake that is still warm may result in the sugar dissolving more quickly because of the increased moisture given off by the steam of the hot cake.
- Buttercream - an easy vanilla buttercream is always a great go-to for a simple cake topping. Dress it up or down, add additional flavourings, pipe a design or just use an offset spatula to spread onto the cakes, once they've cooled.
- Vanilla glaze - mix some powdered sugar with a splash of vanilla extract and add milk until you reach a thick, but pourable consistency. Pour this over the cakes once cool for a classic bundt look. You can also dip baked donuts into thick glazes for a nice coating. If you have leftover bay cream, this can be used in place of some of the milk to add an extra bay enhancement here.
- More or less bay - the infusion here is key to the cake's flavouring, but it is also a main area where you can vary this recipe to taste. More leaves (or fresher leaves) will make this stronger, while fewer leaves will make it weaker. The number of leaves will not have an impact on the overall process here.
- Non-dairy alternatives - I have not tested this recipe with non-dairy options, however, if you have a non-dairy heavy cream and non-dairy butter that you trust in your baking, these should be able to be used in this recipe, following the same basic processes.
- Toppings - the decoration for these bay cakes is completely open to your own preferences! Bundt cakes and donuts work well with glazes, and I recommend a quick vanilla glaze here. You could also try a tangy orange glaze, like the one I use with my Gingerbread Bundt Cake or a blackberry glaze similar to my Blackberry Donuts.
My bay leaf bundt cakes will keep fresh for about 4 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
The specifics of storage will depend a bit on the frosting used - if you're using a buttercream or a whipped frosting, these will need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Yes! My bay pound cake can be frozen. Allow the cakes to cool completely before wrapping well and freezing for up to 3 months. The cakes should be defrosted at room temperature prior to serving.
Much like the storage of the cakes and leftovers, freezer viability will depend a bit on frosting - they can be frosted prior to freezing, but the results will vary dependent on the frosting. I, therefore, recommend freezing unfrosted and adding any glaze or decoration fresh for serving.
Absolutely! This recipe is for a moist pound cake style cake flavored with bay leaf. The aromas of the bay are infused into the cream, which is then used in the batter.
Looking for more recipes using bay leaves? Try:
Bay Leaf Cake
Bay Infused Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream or double cream
- 10 bay leaves fresh or dried
Bay Bundt Cake
- 1¾ cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 10 tablespoon unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 2 large eggs ideally at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup bay cream (from the above bay cream reductions)
Bay Infused Cream Instructions
- Add your heavy cream to a medium saucepan over a low heat. Crumple your bay leaves a bit to help release the flavour and add these to the cream. Heat and infuse over a low heat stirring occasionally for about an hour. This will reduce about by half to a thick cream. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Bay Bundt Cake Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175C/160C Fan) and prepare your baking tin(s). I made this in mini bundt tins, but it would also work in a single large bundt.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time and vanilla, beating until well incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture slowly, beating until mixed. Then add the bay-infused cream, beating until well combined.
- Pour your mixture into your prepared tin. If you are using smaller tins or donut moulds, it will be easier to add the mixture first to a piping bag or plastic bag, snip the end and pipe around your mould until about ¾ full. If using a larger single tin, you can pour this in carefully and spread to evenly distribute. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted at the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.