February 22, 2009

Iced Very Lemony Pound Cake

A recent dinner with friends had a theme: home. I used to always request lemon pound cake for my birthday when I was a child, so it was an easy choice for this gathering. I found the recipe my mom used in her original Moosewood Cookbook--and found out why it's called a pound cake. I looked at the ingredients list and decided I didn't actually want a pound of butter in my cake, thankyouverymuch. So, I turned to the internet. Recipes abound. Some use lemon extract or shortening--YUCK! I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website, and since I feel like I can pretty much trust Martha at this point, I decided to give it a try. With a twist, of course.

The Cake:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Butter and flour a bundt pan or two loaf pans.
  2. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk with lemon zest and lemon juice. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three parts alternately with the buttermilk mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with flour; beat just until smooth (do not overmix).
  5. Pour batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (tent with foil if browning too quickly).
The Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Leave the cake in the pan and set it on a wire cooling rack. As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, poke small holes in the top with a toothpick. Drizzle half of the lemon sauce over the top, letting it soak into the cake.
  2. After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, turn it out onto the cooling rack. Poke more holes in the top and drizzle the remaining lemon sauce over the top.
  3. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
The Icing:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Whisk the powdered sugar to remove clumps. Stir in lemon juice in small quantities until all of the sugar is dissolved and desired consistency is reached. I used 3 tablespoons and still found it to be slightly runnier than I'd have liked.
  2. Set the cake's cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Pour glaze over cakes, letting it run down the sides. Let dry, about 30 minutes--if you can wait that long. This cake is good warm, as well as cold the next day.

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