Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake - made March 27, 2010 from Baking by Flavor by Lisa Yockelson

Whenever I have lemons and sour cream to use up, a lemon pound cake is typically my go-to thing to make since most recipes marry the two ingredients quite frequently. I could tell this one would turn out well just from the batter - it was silky smooth when I poured it into the tube pan. I baked it for almost 90 minutes before it seemed done. You don't want to underbake this kind of cake because it'll seem too heavy. The texture on this was soft and almost spongy but still had that pound cake texture. The lemon flavor comes through quite well. I'd consider this a good summer picnic cake as it'll hold up well in warm weather and isn't as rich as a chocolate dessert. And you don't have to worry about it melting or having to cart it around.

Lemon Peel Infusion
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind
2 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons pure lemon extract

Sour Cream Lemon Cake Batter
3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups superfine sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup thick, cultured sour cream

Lemon Sugar Wash
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Grease the inside of a plain 10-inch tube pan with shortening. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of waxed paper cut to fit and grease the paper. Dust the inside of the pan with all-purpose flour. Tap out any excess flour; set aside.
2. Combine the lemon rind, lemon juice, and lemon extract in a small nonreactive ramekin. Set aside for 15 minutes before using.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
4. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderately low speed for 4 minutes. Add the superfine sugar in three additions, beating for 1 minute on moderate speed after each portion is added. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending for 45 seconds after each addition.
5. On low speed, alternately add the sifted mixture in three additions with the sour cream in two additions, beginning and ending with the sifted ingredients. Scrape down t he sides of the mixing bowl frequently with a rubber spatula to keep the batter even-textured. Blend in the prepared lemon infusion.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared tube pan. Smooth over the top with a rubber spatula.
7. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until risen, set and a wooden pick inserted in the cake withdraws clean. The baked cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan.
8. While the cake is baking, make the lemon-sugar wash: In a small, nonreactive bowl, combine the lemon juice and sugar. Stir well. Let stand 10 minutes. Using the ash now will give the surface of a baked tea loaf, pound cake or batch of muffins a crackly, sugary veneer.
9. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto another cooling rack, peel off the waxed paper circle, then invert again onto another rack to cool right side up. Place a sheet of waxed paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips of the topping.
10. Using a soft, 1-inch-wide pastry brush, brush the lemon-sugar wash on the surface of the warm cake. Cool completely before slicing and serving. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake neatly and cleanly.

Freshly baked, the pound cake keeps for 5 days.

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