Monday, January 26, 2009

Sour Cream & Lemon Pound Cake

The wind chill is below zero; not even the cats will venture outdoors for more than three nanoseconds. I don't blame them one whit. When the thermometer starts dipping to single digits, a little citrus reminds me that somewhere the yellow sun is shining and it's warm.

Yellow, citrus. Lemons! See how my mind segues. (I know you are awed.)

I love just about lemon anything. For me, this pound cake has just the perfect amount of lemon flavor: the lemon makes its presence well-known but isn't overbearing; it's not competing for attention. I would describe this cake as "heavy" with a fine, tight crumb. If you're looking for light and fluffy, this isn't it. My photo doesn't show it, but the top cracks, like banana bread.

Some lemon pound cakes have a lemon glaze, but in my opinion, this cake doesn't need it. The fresh lemon aroma and lemony-lovely flavor stand on its own. So I give myself a nice thick slice, a few raspberries, a cup of hot tea ....I stare wistfully out my kitchen window....

...Do I hear robins?

Sour Cream & Lemon Pound Cake

3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325F.

Grease a 16-cup tube pan, making sure to grease the center tube very well; dust with cake flour (shaking and rolling the flour inside the pan); tap out the excess flour. Or you could use one of those baking sprays that contain flour; they work well, too.

Using a zester, microplane, or small-holed grater, grate the lemon peel, reserve. (If you have a little more than the 1 tablespoon called for, don't fret, just toss it in.) Next squeeze (or ream) the lemon into a small custard or measuring cup and set aside. You want these ingredients waiting for you until you need them. (One good sized lemon will provide about 1/4 cup juice. You can obtain the optimal amount of juice by microwaving the lemon for several seconds, or you can firmly roll the lemon between the palm of your hand and the counter top, before juicing.)

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl, or onto a sheet of waxed paper. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in large bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat 5 minutes, until light and creamy in color, another 3 or 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Beat in lemon juice and peel.

Using rubber spatula, mix in dry ingredients. Add the sour cream, and continuing to use your spatula, mix until well blended, but do not beat.

Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on rack 15 minutes.

Using a thin-bladed knife, cut around the cake in pan to help loosen it from the sides (although if you did a good job with greasing the pan in the beginning you may not need to do this). Turn out cake. Carefully turn cake right side up on rack and cool completely.


  1. I LOVE pound cakes, especially lemon ones. This looks yummy!

  2. I love them too. This one is very good, among my top favorite favorites.

  3. I love the plate as much as the cake, Katypi! This looks delish.

  4. It all fits together beautifully...the plate, the cake, the berries, and the post. I must make it; I don't think I've ever made a pound cake, and I do like them heavy. Thank you!


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