Lemon Walnut Sour Cream Pound Cake - made January 16, 2010 from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
I think this is the 5th recipe I've tried from this baking book and it's another winner. I have several recipe books published by bakeries and some of them are hit or miss on how good the recipes really are (or not). But I need to look up where The Sweet Melissa Bakery is so I can visit it someday because so far her cookbook has been spectacular. It's rivaling the baking books from Magnolia Bakery and Buttercup Bake Shop in terms of consistently good recipes and, having visited both Magnolia and Buttercup in Manhattan, I love those two bakeries. I may also love the Sweet Melissa Bakery if her recipes keep turning out so well.
While this recipe has "walnut" in the title, your eyes aren't deceiving you that there aren't any walnuts in the picture. There aren't any because I generally don't like nuts in cakes and I specifically don't like walnuts at all. But this was fine without them. The recipe calls for baking the pound cake in a single large loaf pan but I made it in 3 small loaf pans. I like using the smaller sizes because they bake faster and it's nicer to present and give away to several different people as a single small loaf than a large loaf cut into pieces. Just don't forget to adjust the baking time. I baked the small loaf pans in about 40-45 minutes. This one's mostly for my parents, except for the one I had to cut for the taste test. This has a perfectly balanced lemon flavor, is moist without being too dense and has a perfect pound cake texture with a tender crumb. I should know because I ate a second taste test piece just to be sure :).
Lemon Walnut Sour Cream Pound Cake
For the cake
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup sour cream
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
For the glaze:
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1. Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and flour a 1 ½-quart loaf pan.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening, sugar and zest, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, almond extract, and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter in two batches, alternating with the sour cream. Do not overmix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gently fold in the walnuts, saving some to sprinkle on top.
4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto a rack for glazing.
5. For the glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and lemon juice and heat to a high simmer. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until reduced by half.
6. Using a pastry brush, brush the hot glaze on the still-warm unmolded cake. Brush again, if desired, after 15 minutes. Let cool before slicing.