Back in September, my friend Amy said…OK…the lemon cake? Ever since then it’s been on my “to do” list but I was all over the place with my posts. But when Amy invited our family for dinner…it was done. Penciled in and on the updated list. This cake is really so good and so lemony. People say there are two categories of dessert eaters – lemons or chocolates, but I am both! Lucky me. Amy too. Her family as well (well, maybe not Jordan). Sherry Yard – the pastry chef who created this cake is so talented, and her cookbooks are filled with technical hints and great guidance. I highly recommend them. Anyway – this cake stands alone very well, but is also quite good (as a dinner party dessert) with fresh berries and a dollop of freshly whipped cream (which you now can make!) In my baking tips I recommend setting your ingredients out in front of you so that you don’t forget anything. I did that, I do that, but somehow (I must admit) I ignored the 4 eggs sitting on the counter! At the end I had to add them (which makes for heavier crumb and cake) but luckily my family said still good. And Rob said he prefers the cake a little dense like that. (Maybe also a little under-baked.) Oh well…next time I’ll get it right – we all flake out now and then. Especially me. OK, enjoy-
(luscious) lemon pound cake (slightly adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard):
This makes two 9×5 loaf pans. One to serve, one to freeze. Or enough for a party. Cut recipe in half if you don’t want so much cake.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened at room temp
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup finely grated and chopped lemon zest (I added a little bit of orange zest too)
4 large eggs, room temp
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
skant (meaning just about) 3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two 9×5 loaf pans with butter and parchment and butter again. Adjust baking rack to the center of the oven.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Zest the lemons. Make sure to wash the fruit first. Also try not to grate the white part of the lemon peel (the part right under the yellow) because it is bitter. (Look to baking tips for good graters.)
With paddle attachment beat the butter on medium high speed until softened a bit – about a minute. Add the sugar and zest and continue to beat until very light and fluffy…(more than normal) for about 10 minutes. The batter is almost white.
While beating, squeeze the lemons and make the lemon juice (while you are at it, make enough for the syrup below). And add together the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla and set aside.
Scrape down the batter and mix again. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time until each egg is incorporated. Scrape, and mix again.
On lowest speed, add one third of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until just incorporated, then add 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture (again, till just incorporated) and repeat process again, ending with the last one third of dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 1 hour and 55-70 minutes – until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 7-10 minutes. Then carefully invert on rack. Run a sharp knife around the edges if you think they are stuck to the sides first.
In the meantime, make the syrup. Boil the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes – and the sugar is dissolved.
While the cake is still warm, poke little holes all over the cake with your toothpick…all over…and with a pastry brush apply the lemon syrup. (I suppose you can spoon it on if you don’t have a brush.) Repeat a few times. The warm syrup will fall in all the little holes as well as the top of the cake…yum. (I had a little leftover syrup…but save it for something!)
Serve warm or at room temp and it will last in freezer for 3 weeks if wrapped airtight.