Hubby is a big fan of pound cakes. They were a special treat for him on birthdays and other special occasions while growing up. I haven’t eaten too many pound cakes but I am a huge fan of lemon desserts. I love to treat myself to delectable lemon tarts and cookies and mousses…anything with that mouth watering lemon zest is a favorite treat of mine, just second to my love of chocolate. So when I came across a fun episode of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa show where she made a lemon pound cake, complete with a huge handful of lemon zest, soaked in lemon syrup and then drizzled with lemon glaze, I knew I just had to give her cake a try.
I am a huge fan of the Barefoot Contessa show. I like to have it playing in the background while I cook. It feels like I have a friend in the kitchen with me. I’ve been watching a full marathon of episodes while in the kitchen. I’m already on my second marathon round through all the seasons.
It was a blustery and rainy day when I first attempted this recipe. I’m a big fan of baking on rainy days.
Actually, it took three attempts to finally get this recipe right. With all the photography, I kept forgetting to add an ingredient or I’d mess up the measurements. It’s okay though, each test batch was tastier then the last and Hubby and I benefited from the results of each failed attempt. Even my neighbors got to benefit from a batch where I’d forgotten to add baking soda. We had enough lemon pound cake to last us weeks!
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Lemon Pound Cake
Makes: 2 pound cakes
YOU WILL NEED
Two loaf pans (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch)
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CAKE
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs, brought to room temperature
1/3 cup lemon zest (about 8 lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
INGREDIENTS FOR THE LEMON SYRUP
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
INGREDIENTS FOR THE GLAZE
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Leave two sticks of butter out overnight to soften, and another tablespoon of softened butter for preparing the loaf pans.
The next morning:
Set out the buttermilk to bring to room temperature
Set out 4 eggs in hot water to bring them to room temperature, putting them in hot water helps them warm up quicker.
Preheat the oven to 350° F/ 180° C
When the ingredients are at room temperature:
Prepare two loaf pans (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch).
Butter the inside of the pans with some softened butter, then coat the inside with a layer of flour, tap out the excess flour in the sink. If you want, you can line the inside with parchment paper. Trace the bottom of the pan on parchment paper and cut it out.
Using parchment is optional. I have non-stick loaf pans and tried it with and without. It came out fine without, but it’s always good to know you can get the cake out of the pan, worry-free.
* I brush on a pre-made mix of vegetable shortening and flour that I keep on hand. One part shortening to two parts flour. It keeps in the pantry for ages.
Zest 8 lemons (about 1/3 cup)
Add the two sticks of room temperature butter to the bowl of an electric mixer.
Add 2 cups of sugar
Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed using the paddle attachment. Takes about 5 minutes until it’s light and fluffy.
If the butter is not completely soft, it will not cream correctly, so you really want to make sure it’s room temperature, plan the night ahead and you’ll know it’s completely soft.
While you’re waiting, let’s sift together the dry ingredients. Sifting is worth doing because it ensures there is nothing in the mixture you wouldn’t want in your cake.
Sift over a large bowl, 3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
and 1 teaspoon of salt into a bowl.
Sift ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, mix together a 1/4 cup of lemon juice
3/4 cup of buttermilk
and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Now, add the 4 room temperature eggs one at a time to the creamed butter and sugar, with the mixer on medium speed.
Add 1/3 cup of lemon zest
Add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating dry and wet, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
Divide the batter between two loaf pans…my two pans happen to be different sizes. Smooth out the top and…
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes, start checking at 45 minutes to see if the cakes are golden brown on the top and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, we are going to make the lemon syrup. Combine 1/2 cup/113 g of sugar and 1/2 cup/118 ml of lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the cakes from their pans and set them on a cooling rack placed over a tray to catch the syrup that drips down. To keep things easier to clean, line the tray with parchment paper to catch the drippings. Pour the lemon syrup over the cakes, or use a spoon to drizzle the syrup over them.
Now let the cakes cool to room temperature, about an hour. Once they are cool, let’s make the glaze.
Sift 2 cups/1 lb. of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar). Combine it with 3 1/2 tablespoons/53 ml lemon juice using a wire whisk to mix it until smooth.
Pour the lemon glaze over both cakes (still on the rack with the pan beneath), letting it drizzle down the sides.
Wait until the glaze has hardened before serving.
This cake is packed with mouth-watering lemon flavor. Enjoy to the fullest!