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Lemon Pound Cake

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm still fooling around putting together recipes to work in COOK FOOD GOOD. Allie's requested something like this in a parallel thread, so I rewrote a "light pound cake" recipe I already had, to make it nice and lemony. I'm not sure where the original recipe came from, maybe James Beard, but it was significantly tweaked to get to the point it was at before it got tweaked for this recipe. A slightly richer version will go into the book as the cake for Cassata Siciliana.

There are a couple of things to like about this version. In terms of the "chocolate or lemon" dessert divide -- it certainly makes it's position clear. Don't worry. Chocolate will understand, and it's not like it's ever been faithful to you. Second, it's good pedagogy with all the right proportions and techniques for pound cake.

Compared to other pound cakes,this one is just as rich, but somehow light. Seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Try it, maybe you'll come up with a better description.


(Makes a 12 cup cake)
(Level, Beginner)

3 cups cake flour (or 1-1/2 cups each cake and AP flour, or 2-3/4 cups AP flour)
1/2 tsp double acting baking powder
Pinch table salt
12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
2-1/2 cups sugar, divided
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tbs lemon zest (micro-planed)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbs rum

Allow the butter to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift twice and reserve. Use a microplane to zest a lemon, and reserve 1-1/2 tbs of the zest. Squeeze enough fresh lemons to make 1/2 cup of lemon juice (about 1-1/2 to 2 whole lemons).

Adjust your oven racks so you can bake at middle height. Preheat your oven to 300F. Butter and flour a 12 cup Bundt or loaf pan.

With a an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, cream the softened butter with 2 cups sugar at medium or high speed, until pale and fluffy -- about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed and add in this order: 1/3 of the sifted flour, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 of the sifted flour, the remaining milk, and the remaining flour. Beat until just smooth; do not over beat. Stir in the lemon zest, and vanilla with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt or loaf pan, and place it in the oven. Bake for approximately 90 minutes, or until a wooden skewer stuck into the middle comes out clean. No! Stop! Don’t! Do not throw out that pick. Are you nuts? Do you think wood grows on trees?

Place the cake, pan and all, on a rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the lemon juice and remaining sugar in a small sauce pan. Heat over a medium burner, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved . Remove from the heat.

Set a cooling rack in a baking sheet-pan, and invert the cake onto the rack. Use the famous skewer to poke lots of holes into the top of the cake. Now you can drop it like a bad habit.

Stir the rum into the warm lemon syrup. Spoon the syrup over the top, so the cake can soak it up. Collect any syrup which runs off the cake, and keep spooning it over the cake until all that can be absorbed is absorbed.

Let cool at least one hour more before slicing.

Hope you like it,

PS. As usual, if you want to share this recipe, please attribute it to Boar D. Laze. I'll consider it a great kindness if at the same time, you mention my eventually forthcoming book, COOK FOOD GOOD: American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Amateurs. BDL

PPS. Please take a look at my blog, and if you're so disposed, leave a comment. It's appreciated. BDL
post #2 of 9
Hi - I love lemon cake!

So, why do you use 3-cups of cake or cake/AP flour or only 2-3/4 cups of AP flour?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Sift them twice, and you'll see.

Also, trying to control the amount of glutenous proteins to control texture. Nobody likes a tough cake.

post #4 of 9

Everything's better with butter ...

I've got a question about butter in this and similar recipes. I have some regular old unsalted butter, some Kerry Gold Irish butter, and some very expensive, 85% or so butterfat artisanal butter. Would there be any noticeable difference in taste or texture depending on the butter choice?
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I think there would be, yes.

post #6 of 9
Sounds a lot like what we tend to call Madeira cake, BDL.
Thanks for the recipe.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Does doesn't it? I could throw some Madeira, dry Marsala, or an off dry sherry like an amontillado or manzanillo in there pretty easily. Hmmm. There's this wonderful California Madeira from the funkiest winery in the world, called San Antonio Winery. San Antonio Winery is located in Lincoln Heights, just outside downtown Los Angeles; an industrial/warehouse neighborhood, not far from the county men's jail. They give tours culminating in a nothing special Italian/American restaurant, which is nevertheless very homey, naive and pleasant for it. Many of their wines are dreadful. However, the Madeira is very, very cheap; not bad if you like that sort of thing; and wonderful for cooking. I've always got a bottle in the kitchen.

[singing] Have some Madeira, m'dear,
post #8 of 9
I grew up with the story that 'Madeira' cake was made to accompany the madeira that Regency folk 'took' in the mornings.... :D

I love madeira for cooking, too. I often add it to chicken marengo if I don't have any good sherry in the house.

You and I are kindred spirits, laddie.:lol:
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Have some madeira, m'dear
You really have nothing to fear
I'm not trying to tempt you, that wouldn't be right
You shouldn't drink spirits at this time of night
Have some madeira, m'dear
It's really much nicer than beer
I don't care for sherry, one cannot drink stout
And port is a wine I can well do without
It's simply a case of chacun a son gout
Have some madeira, m'dear

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