Monday, July 16, 2012

Lemon Pound Cake

My boyfriend C's and my favorite late night hang out is Starbucks. Since I go to school in a pretty quiet place during the Summer and bar-hopping isn't really my thing, Starbucks trips are a multiple-times-a-week occurrence whenever I'm not closing at work. It's much easier to grab a coffee and a comfy chair and get some work done. In fact, I'm writing this post at a Starbucks right now.

Anyway, on one of these frequent visits, I decided to purchase a slice of lemon pound cake. Now, this isn't a plug for coffee corporations or anything, but C, being a huge fan of anything containing lemon (as previously mentioned), insisted I make some at home.

I looked into my bookmarked recipes and was astounded to find I had no lemon pound cakes ready to go. Fortunately, Joy came to the rescue with a Lemon Drenched Lemon Cake. I halved the recipe below (which makes for some interesting, but very possible, conversions), but the cake is still bursting with lemony flavor. The best part is the lemon syrup poured over the cake after it comes out of the oven. The cake, already full of zest (which is rubbed into the sugar with your fingers: it is one of the most delightful smells in the world), is bathed in a delightfully sweet lemon syrup.

I liked the cake well enough shortly after the syrup was applied while the cake was still warm (let's be honest: I break the rules), but C likes it better after being in the fridge, allowing the lemon syrup to spread throughout the cake and the flavor to intensify.

Lemon Pound Cake
Makes 1 9x5" loaf pan.

For Cake:

1 1/3 cup flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt

1 1/6 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream
zest of one lemon
7.5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

For Syrup:

1/6 cup water
1/8 cup sugar
juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare (grease and flour) one 9x5" loaf pan. Place pan on baking sheet.

Combine sugar and lemon zest, mixing with fingers until the scent of lemon fills the air (thank me later!). Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla.
In separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet ingredients in 3 or 4 additions. Add melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Mix only until incorporated to keep cake light and fluffy.
Pour batter into pans and smooth over with rubber spatula. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Check cake half way through (~30 minutes) to check for color: cover with foil if cake is browning too quickly.

While cake is in oven, make syrup. Combine water and sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until mixture boils. Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let syrup cool in separate bowl.

Let cake cool in pan 5 minutes before removing onto wire rack placed over lined baking sheet. Poke holes in cake with knife or skewer. Brush cake with syrup. Let cake cool to room temperature.
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