March 3, 2015

Lemon Pound Cake

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Hiyo friends, how are you doing? I’m sorry I haven’t been very active around here lately, I’ve been very occupied with an exciting side project (details to come soon!). I thought I’d make it up to you with cake – that usually works. This version of lemon pound cake has a tender vanilla cake base with a vibrant lemon glaze and fluffy frosting.

I was craving a grocery store pound cake my mom used to buy when I was little – it was a classic vanilla pound cake with vanilla frosting, but it had a tangy lemon glaze that made it super addictive.

You have options here – to make it a gorgeous triple lemon loaf, simply add a tablespoon of finely grated (I use a microplane) zest to the batter and substitute lemon juice to the frosting. If you’d prefer a frosted vanilla pound cake (sans citrus), just swap the lemon juice in the glaze for water (even though it won’t be lemon-y, the glaze still helps keep the cake moist!).

My renditions of pound cakes aren’t totally traditional – an actual pound cake consists of a pound each of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. I personally haven’t worked up the courage to put that much butter or egg in single loaf pan, but maybe the day will soon come – because although this version was delicious and fluffy and wonderful in its own right, it wasn’t the pound cake of my childhood.

A few tips when making this (or any) cake:

– WEIGH your flour. In my recipes, 1 cup = 4.5 ounces. There’s some disparity among brands and sources on how much one cup of all purpose flour weighs, but I go with the middle of the road – and it’s closest to what I get by very gently spooning it into a cup and then sweeping off the excess. Even when you do “spoon and sweep” however, sometimes a cup can weigh upwards of 5 ounces depending on how much it was packed. The extra flour can make the difference between a moist cake and a dry one, a perfect cookie and a puffy one. Weighing your flour can make a huge difference in the quality of your baking. Go with my standard 4 1/2 oz per cup if weight is not given, otherwise use the weight provided in a recipe or the conversion provided by the source.

– REALLY cream your butter and sugar. When the recipe says beat for 4 minutes, beat for 4 minutes. This ensures a light, tender crumb.

– Don’t over-bake. Test your cake at regular intervals toward the end of cooking. Gently press the centre – it should feel springy, not leave an indent. Then test with a skewer or toothpick to make sure the middle isn’t still wet.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (9 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (8 ounces), softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)

For glaze:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (or water, for plain vanilla cake – see above)

For frosting:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk (or lemon juice)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract (omit if using lemon juice)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line an 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

  3. Combine butter and sugar in standing mixer and beat on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for about 15 seconds after each and pausing to scrape down sides of bowl before adding the next. Beat in vanilla bean seeds.

  4. With mixer speed on low, gradually beat in half of the flour mixture. Stop mixer, scrape down sides of bowl, then beat in milk on low speed, followed by remaining flour mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes – 1 hour, until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Place on wire rack for 10 minutes to cool in pan, then carefully invert cake directly onto rack. Peel off parchment paper and invert again so that it’s right-side up.

To make glaze:

  1. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. While cake is still warm, poke several holes in the top with a toothpick and brush glaze over repeatedly until it’s all used.

To make frosting:

  1. Beat all ingredients together on medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Spread on completely cooled cake.

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Hi, I’m Jenn! I’m in the Foodess kitchen making a spectacular mess + making something delicious, in roughly equal parts. So happy that you’ve joined me!

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