Lemon Pound Cake for the Moms
Monday, February 17, 2014
Dinner would be Braciola (an Italian flank steak roulade in marinara sauce) with pasta, so I wanted dessert to be something light but also full of flavor. What would brighten the end of the meal and lift the palate? Lemon cake, of course.
Pulling out my trusty "American Classics" by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, I found the perfect lemon pound cake, bought some raspberries and heavy whipping cream and got started zesting lemons.
Once the cake was out of the oven, I poked tiny holes in the top and poured a glaze of sugar and lemon juice that had been marinating for the hour the cake was baking. Making holes causes the glaze to seep down into the soft cake, adding a burst of lemony flavor in every bite. The glaze is my favorite part and I could eat it by the spoonful (I have a high sugar tolerance, though). You can even add a couple of tablespoonsful of the glaze to sparkling water for a very special lemonade treat.
Back to the cake! Now, it was time to rinse berries and make whipped cream. I reeeeally recommend whipping your own cream as the flavor and texture really are so decadent and make all the difference. This time, I added about a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste to about a pint of fresh heavy cream.
Adding fresh berries to little slices of cake and wholloping the whole thing with a heap of real whipped cream made for a delicious finish. Now, I know these are my moms, but they did claim to love it and everyone gobbled it up in no time, despite a fairly heavy dinner.
And, now, for the recipe!
Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Sugar Glaze
based on American Classics by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, cooled and whisked to keep solids from separating
1-1/2 C flour, sifted
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1-1/4 C sugar
2 T lemon zest
3 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
Sugar Glaze (below)
Butter and flour a loaf pan. I like to use 4.5"x12" but a 9"x5" will totally work. Heat oven to 325.
Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.
Blend the sugar and the zest in a blender or food processor about 5-6 pulses. Then, add eggs (I always break eggs into a measuring cup to make sure to catch any shells before adding to a batter), vanilla and lemon juice and pulse 7-10 times, until incorporated. Turn your blender/processor on and slowly drizzle the melted butter in over about 10-15 seconds.
Transfer the wet mixture to a large bowl and gently whisk in 1/3 the dry mixture. Repeat until all of the dry mixture is incorporated, but don't overmix.
Bake 50 minutes, until the top of the cake is set, although it may still be glossy and look slightly underdone. Let it cool about 15 minutes and then add the glaze.
Lemon Sugar Glaze
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 C sugar
Mix lemon juice into sugar and whisk. Then, repeat about every 15 minutes for about an hour. The sugar will naturally mostly dissolve, leaving a few soft sprinkles of sugar crunch that make a nice, soft crust atop your cake.
Keep your cake in its pan and poke lots of holes in it - gently! I use a fork with long tines, but you can use toothpicks or kabob sticks. Slowly pour the glaze over the warm cake. I usually take 3-4 passes at this, letting part of the glaze settle in each time and then pouring a little more over.
Let the cake sit at least 30 minutes and then pop it out of the pan. Slice with a sharp knife if you're serving it fresh or, if you have time, refrigerate the cake to solidify the crumb.
As I recommend above, drop a few berries (enough so that each bite of cake can be accompanied by a berry and some cream) on a slice of cake and then douse it in whipped cream and you're good to go.
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Posted by Allison Stabile at 9:20 PM
Labels: American Recipes, breakfast cake, Cook's Illustrated, dessert, heavy cream, lemon cake, loaf, moms, mothers, raspberries, tea time, vanilla bean paste, whipped cream