Sunday, January 13, 2019

French Lemon Pound Cake

The things I like about pound cakes and bundt cakes are their velvety texture and the stand alone flavor. Most cakes in this category require no icing, even though some are glazed and iced. In regards to this particular recipe, glazing or icing would be a mistake.

For those that crave super lemon flavor, the french have you covered on this one. It takes 9 lemons to make this pound cake. There are lemon segments in the batter. In addition, you give the loaf a few squeezes to soak up a lemon syrup after baking. All that lemon creates a pop of tart flavor with every bite-especially when it includes a lemon segment.

Since this cake has such super flavor, I have discarded all other recipes for lemon pound cake.  This will be my "go to" recipe.

French Lemon Pound Cake
adapted from the New York Times

3/4 cup of heavy cream
6 eggs
9 lemons
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter plus 2 tablespoons; melted
1 1/2 cup of sugar
2 3/4 cup of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

remaining zest from creating cake
Juice from remaining 6 lemons from creating cake
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar

For the cake, grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and line interior bottom and 2 long sides with parchment paper. Grease the surface of the parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take 4 of the lemons and grate the outer skin for lemon zest. Set zest aside.

Using 3 of the zested lemons, slice off the tops and bottoms. Then cut away the skin and white pith by standing on end and slicing downward. After that, the membrane and seeds will need to be removed. Use a paring knife and work over a bowl to capture the fruit and juices. Once finished, check the size of the lemon segments and cut any in half that exceed one inch. Set this aside, along with the 4th zested lemon.

Take out a medium size bowl and sift together baking powder and flour. Add the sugar and whisk until evenly distributed into the sifted ingredients. Empty into a bowl of a stand mixer and run mixer on low speed while slowly streaming in heavy cream. Once combined, turn mixer to medium speed and add one egg. Beat for 30 seconds to combine. Repeat the process with each egg. Then mix in the melted butter. Remove bowl from stand mixer.

Add 3/4 of the zest to the batter, along with lemon segments and juices. Mix with spatula or wooden spoon to combine. Set remaining zest aside. Empty batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove and make a slice about 1/2 inch deep lengthwise in the center of the loaf. Return loaf to oven and bake for 30 minutes. Once that baking session is over, reduce the oven temperature to 325. Bake loaf until tester comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.

While the loaf is baking, create the syrup. Take and juice the remaining 6 lemons (this includes the one that was zested). Whisk in the rest of the zest.

Fill a saucepan with the water and both types of the sugar. Place over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove and whisk in zest/juice blend. Let cool.

After loaf is baked, let cool for 10 minutes and then invert onto a rack. Remove parchment and invert again so loaf is face up. Let cool for 20 more minutes. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour cooled syrup into a large dish with ample room for the loaf. Invert loaf into syrup and lightly squeeze. Invert again and repeat the process. Place the loaf face up on the prepared baking sheet and put in oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on rack completely before slicing and serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. Due to the syrup, loaf will somewhat damp on the outer edges. The extra 10 minutes baking after soaking does not dry it out. It may be damp but the syrup does bring a lot of flavor to the loaf.

2. Serving suggestion is to slice, toast and top with fruit compote.

3. After baking the loaf for 15 minutes, it still has a batter consistency. The lengthwise scoring or cut will show after completely baked.

4. Feel free to use Meyer lemons for less acidiity, they are still in season. When you get ready to cut, remember that their skin is thinner than regular lemons.
                                   **LAST YEAR:Salty Sweet Nut Bars**