Thursday, March 3, 2011
Lemon Pound Cake
I was inspired by reed reader's lemon pound cake, and decided that's where I needed to start.
My first taste of Lemon Glazed Pound Cake was at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse. I was working there, and it showed up one day in the bake case. I remember sitting down on my break, sipping an iced vanilla latte, lamenting that the banana bread was sold out and gone for the day. I half heartedly took a bite of the lemon bread, and zip-zip-zip! I was hooked. It was full of lemon flavor - the perfect balance of tart and sweet, with a sticky lemon glaze that soaked through the bread and made it moist and more flavorful. I couldn't get enough.
But somehow, some time over the next couple months the bread disappeared, and lemon glazed pound cake became history. People were demanding banana bread and cream scones - they had forgotten that luscious lemon-y delight, and it never came back. No one could even find the recipe - or remember where it came from. It was over.
Occasionally, throughout the years, I would try a recipe for lemon bread, hoping to recreate what had been, but nothing came close. I slowly gave up hope, sure the recipe was lost forever. Recently, however, I stumbled upon lemon glazed pound cake from America's Test Kitchen, and decided to give it one more try. Jackpot. There was that intense, lemon flavor, perfectly balanced. There was that sweet, sticky glaze, soaking through the pound cake, making it moist and packing it with more flavor, more lemon. I had one complaint - the bread was a bit 'fluffy' - it wasn't dense like I wanted my pound cake to be. However, on the second day the texture improved, and by day 3 it was almost perfect.
Hooray, it's lemon pound cake!
Lemon Pound Cake
America's Test Kitchen
I found the cake tasted best on the second and third day. The cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.
16 tablespoons [2 sticks] unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon, softened, for the pan
1 1/2 cups [6 ounces] cake flour, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups [8 3/4 ounces] sugar
2 tablespoons grated zest
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup [3 1/2 ounces] sugar
1/4 cup juice from 2 lemons
for the cake:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with 1 tablespoon of the softened butter; dust with 1 tablespoon of the flour, tapping our the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder and the salt; set aside.
Melt the remaining 16 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the melted butter thoroughly to reincorporate any separated milk solids.
In a food processor, pulse the sugar and zest until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the lemon juice, eggs and vanilla; process until combined, about 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the melted butter through the feed tube in a steady stream [this should take about 20 seconds]. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture in three additions, whisking gently after each addition until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack. Pike the top and sides of the cake throughout with a toothpick. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour. [The cooled cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 5 days.]
for the glaze:
While the cake is cooling, bring the sugar and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the glaze and cool to room temperature.