Bake

Coriander Seed Bundt Cake

November 12, 2018
4 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

Coriander seed—not the leafy part of the same plant known as cilantro— is not just for savory Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern cooking. Taste a crunchy seed right from the jar and discover its delightfully bright, citrusy, floral flavor. You'll wonder, as I did, why it doesn't appear more regularly in Western baked goods.

Note: Whether you start with whole (best of all) or ground coriander, make sure it's fresh and within the best-by date. You can use ground seeds (untoasted) that you grind yourself or purchase ground, for both the batter and the topping, but my preference is for toasted spice in the batter and untoasted spice for the topping. For this, start with whole seeds. Toast those for the batter before grinding them, as follows: Put seeds in a dry skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat, shake the pan to roll the seeds around until they are slightly colored and fragrant—this takes just minute or two once the pan is hot. Skip the toasting step for the topping. Grind seeds in a mortar and pestle, or use a spice or coffee grinder. —Alice Medrich

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: This Underrated Spice Is the Key to a Better Bundt Cake. —The Editors

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 12
Ingredients
  • Cake
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3 1/3 cups (425 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use fine sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 18 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened (pliable but not squishy)
  • 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (8 grams) whole coriander seeds, toasted and ground (see Author Notes) or simply ground
  • Topping
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole (untoasted) coriander seed, ground, or purchased ground coriander seed
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. (If using a convection oven, adjust the temperature according to instructions with your oven and look for doneness early.) Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with baking spray that contains flour, or thoroughly grease and flour it.
  2. Mix the buttermilk with the water and vanilla and set aside.
  3. Mix the eggs and yolk together in a measuring pitcher and set it aside.
  4. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl large enough to do this job thoroughly—whisking not only combines the ingredients, it fluffs up the flour so that it blends more easily into the batter which in turn prevents over mixing. Set this aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, and ground coriander on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Very gradually pour the eggs into the bowl in a thin steady stream taking 1 to 1 1/2 minutes in total.
  6. On low speed, starting and ending with the flour mixture, add the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in two additions. Scrape the bowl as necessary and mix only enough to incorporate each addition.
  7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes before inverting it on a rack to finish cooling. To serve, mix ground coriander with powdered sugar and sift over the top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jen Colangelo
    Jen Colangelo
  • Remy Smith DeVito
    Remy Smith DeVito
  • Alice Medrich
    Alice Medrich
  •  RisenWell
    RisenWell
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

7 Reviews

RisenWell May 3, 2021
I made this cake with double the amount of toasted freshly ground coriander seed and it still lacked real coriander flavor . Had I not followed another's suggestion about adding orange to the mix, it would have been a regular, good, but uninspired cake. As for putting ground coriander atop... It's very difficult to get coriander finely ground enough to prevent bad" mouth feel"...caution advised. If I were to try this again (as I do love coriander) I might try it with green (not fully ripe) coriander seed, as their flavor and texture is much brighter.
 
Shelley August 9, 2020
I made the recipe as written, although was tempted to add orange (next time). The coriander is an exceptional addition, there’s a depth of flavor and it is reminiscent of Christmas spices but different. After prepping, it was a quick fix, and I’ll definitely make again. Thank you Alice M for the recipe.
 
Eitak February 16, 2019
I made this cake and it is delicious. We are a 2 person household so I cut the recipe in half and adjusted the baking time, turned out perfect. Love the flavor :)
 
Jen C. February 3, 2019
I made this and it was delicious. I was worried the coriander flavor would be too strong, but it was very balanced. It also had the kind of texture I like - not too dry, not too moist.

I also tried this with a different topping - I used a caramel frosting that I love. But my frosting is very sweet and the sweetness overwhelmed the spice. For anyone who wants to try a different topping, I recommend something subtle that lets the cake still be the star.
 
Remy S. December 25, 2018
This was beautiful take on my already-adored unadorned bundt cake. Nostalgia in a mouthful, truly, for a familiar yet uncommon flavor from something eaten long ago. Thank you for recipe.
 
Linda December 16, 2018
My husband said this is the best cake he has ever had. Not too sweet, but with subtle sophisticated flavor. A cake for adults. I added grated orange zest to batter and glazed cake with powdered sugar orange juice mixture before topping with coriander. Highly recommend seeking out seeds rather than using jarred ground coriander.
 
Author Comment
Alice M. December 16, 2018
Lovely to hear this! Your orange zest addition and orange juice glaze sounds terrific. Thanks for sharing.