Lemon Pound Cake

Several weeks ago, a group of ladies gathered for what is called “Sweet Monday” at my church. It bears this name because the event occurs on a Mondays throughout the year and involves devouring sweet and delicious items. Our task was to bring a “spring dessert.”

A “spring dessert?” What’s that? Honestly, I couldn’t come up with a “spring dessert.” So, what does someone do when they don’t have an answer? They Google it.

My search yielded several promising results: Southern Living, Martha Stewart, Good Housekeeping, Betty Crocker…and on the list went. As I sifted through my results, I landed on Martha Stewart’s slideshow of spring desserts. Many of them were single-servings that would be great for portion-control but tedious to make, such as tartlets, shortcakes and cupcakes (never been skilled at making those very pretty). But I also landed on a Glazed Lemon Pound Cake that looked phenomenal. And sounded amazing. And would be easy for people to serve to themselves, right? Yeah!

So, I went forth and conquered! I made a delicious pound cake…and delicious it was (yes, was — it didn’t take long for it to be completely gone in our house). And I’d like to share this recipe with you. 

For the cake, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 5 large eggs

Here’s what you need to do to put it all together:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl or measuring cup (I chose the measuring cup), combine the buttermilk, zest (if you don’t have a zester, jump to the end and see my tip for what to do) and juice. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with buttermilk mixture and ending with flour (flour — buttermilk — flour — buttermilk — flour). Beat just until smooth, being careful not to over mix.

Divide batter evenly between 2 prepared (if you want to use butter/flour to prepare the pans like Ms. Stewart recommends, by all means do — I use cooking spray and these puppies slipped right out of the pan when I removed them) 8×4″ pans and smooth tops. Bake about 50-60 minutes. If browning is occurring too quickly, you can tent with aluminum foil. To ensure the bread is done, a toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.

After the bread has been removed from the oven, allow to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes. Then, turn out the cakes to cool on wire racks. Cool completely before glazing.

As you can see, the cake split a bit on the top. It doesn’t affect the taste at all (believe me) — and the glaze can hide a multitude of visual defects.

For your glaze, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice

To make it:

Mix the lemon juice into the sugar until you get the right consistency. (I prefer to do this in a measuring cup.) If it’s too runny, add additional confectioner’s sugar. If it’s too thick, add additional lemon juice. Be careful to add just a little bit at a time until you get the consistency that you want. In the end, I used about 2 1/4 cups of confectioner’s sugar and 4-5 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Once you get the consistency that you want, set your bread (that’s still on a wire rack) on top of a baking sheet covered in wax paper and pour your glaze evenly over both loaves (and if you don’t have a wire rack, just set your loaves directly on wax paper on the baking sheet…it still works). Let dry for about 30 minutes before trying to cover.

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Remember this will make 2 loaves. It’s a great springy recipe and oh-so-good. And it’s pretty easy. The most complicated part for me was figuring out what to do about zesting my lemons.

If you look at the image below, a zester has a very fine grating tool. You can see the lemon zest laying beside the zester and lemon — see how tiny that is??

Well, I had a problem. I don’t have a zester. I have a cheese grater, though! Very similar to this one:

And I have my little food processor…which I love dearly…and has been getting a true workout lately:

So, what I did was grate up the lemon peel on the cheese grater. This worked well except that the “zest” was very coarse. And that’s not what I wanted…and that’s certainly not “zest.” So, I took it a step further and dumped it in my food processor (a blender would probably work just as well here) and chopped/ground it up until it was much more like zest. The end result was wonderful! It still wasn’t as fine as I would have liked…but it did the job and worked very well. There were no clumps of lemon, which was what I was trying to avoid.

So for those of you without a zester, there is a way around it! Have no fear, you can conquer these kinds of recipes! You just have to think outside of the box a little bit.

Please, let me know if you have tried this recipe and how you like it! I’m interested to hear from you guys.