From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...While I realize this is a matter of opinion, I'll go on record as saying local berries have been a disappointment this summer. The only thing that has prevented the season from being a total berry bust is the crop of Chester blackberries that are now appearing in local markets and farm stands. They are as sweet as sacramental wine, and when we have guests I like to serve them with a cake that is as good as they are. I found one several years ago that adds a special flourish to berry desserts. The cake I'm featuring tonight is so lovely that I'm surprised I haven't been able to find it on other blogs or recipe sites. It was developed for Gourmet magazine ages ago, and, while this gorgeous pound cake should be manna for lemon lovers, it seems to have fallen into obscurity. Pound cakes were traditionally made with a pound of each of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. Nowadays, ratio, rather than weight, defines this classic, and any cake made with ingredients in a 1:1:1:1 ratio is considered to be a pound cake, regardless of its component weight. If you are interested, more detailed information about this type of cake can be found here. Pound or butter cakes get their lift from a combination of butter, eggs and baking powder. They are heavier and richer than sponge cakes and they are also easier to make. They are not foolproof, but if you measure your ingredients carefully you should have a lovely cake to serve your family. We'd all have better and more consistent luck with our baked goods if we weighed our ingredients. Unfortunately, most of us do not yet do that. When I prepare dry ingredients for baking, I spoon rather than scoop them into a measuring cup. I also level the content of the cup with the back of a knife rather than my fingers. When you look at the ingredient list for this cake, you will undoubtedly notice that it calls for 1/4 cup lemon zest. That is not a mistake. Five large lemons will yield that amount of zest, but a caution must be issued here. Make sure you avoid the white pith when you zest the lemons. The pith will make the cake bitter and its after taste can be downright unpleasant. Your cake will probably need more time in the oven than the recipe suggests. Mine required an hour to bake. This is a wonderful cake for lemon lovers and it makes a perfect base for macerated fruit. When the recipe was published, it was suggested that the cake be served with strawberries. While it's delicious served that way, I actually prefer to serve it with a blueberry or blackberry compote. Perhaps that's an unconscious homage to the state of Oregon. I hope you'll try this recipe. I love this intensely lemon-flavored cake. I think you will, too. Here's the recipe.
Lemon Pound Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, adapted from Gourmet Magazine
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest
6 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup + 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1) Move a rack to the middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a kugelhopf or other 2-quart bundt plan. Set aside.
2) Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
3) Using paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric stand mixer at medium speed, until pale and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low. In three batches beginning and ending with flour, add flour, alternately with milk and lemon juice, and beat just until combined.
4) Spoon batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in several placed comes out clean, about 45 to 55 minutes.
Cool cake in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
5) While cake cools, whisk confectioners' sugar into lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth and thick.
6) When cake is cool, set rack over a baking sheet or waxed paper. Drizzle glaze over cake, letting it drip down sides. Serve cake with berries if desired. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.
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