Pound Cake

July 13, 2012

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche! (Let them eat cake!)
~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Les Confessions (Confessions)

Dense and moist, rich and buttery, pound cake was traditionally made with a pound each of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. No leaveners were used other than the air whipped into the batter. While the history of cakes dates back to ancient times, this was likely an early 18th century English or northern European creation. These days, recipes deviate slightly from the original formula to concoct lighter fare. But the nomenclature, in part from the Old Norse kaka, has persisted.

Whether eaten alone, or with coffee or tea, chilled, room temp, broiled or grilled, with a side or topping of sweetened fresh fruit or fine ice cream, glazed with sugars or merely dusted with powered sugar, as French toast, with savory friends, pound cake is for all times — breakfast, lunch, snacks or desserts.

Dad’s eyes always danced, and sometimes he damn near swooned, over this heavenly staple.

MEYER LEMON POUND CAKE

Unsalted butter
Sifted cake flour

1 1/2 C (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 C sifted cake flour
1 t sea salt
4 t baking powder
2 3/4 C sugar
8 large eggs, room temperature
1 C whole milk, room temperature
2 t pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon

Glaze
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2 3/4 C confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed
1/4 C fresh Meyer lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 F

Butter and flour two loaf pans and set aside.

Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder and set aside. With a stand up mixer, cream the butter, and then add the sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Stir only until thoroughly blended. Gently fold in the zest.

Pour batter into the prepared pans, making sure to divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Level tops with a spatula. Bake until lightly brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. Let the cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes, and then carefully remove to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.

In a medium bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients to combine. If necessary, add additional confectioners’ sugar to desired consistency.

Pour glaze over pound cakes and serve sliced.

Pourboire:  to enrich further, use cream cheese (40%) and butter (60%) in lieu of unsalted butter only.

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