Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lemon Pound Cake

 When I was a little girl, I loved sucking on lemon halves. While I don't do that anymore, when I cut one open it makes my mouth begin to water. So it's no surprise that I enjoy a great piece of lemon cake. This Lemon Pound Cake from Cook's Illustrated does not disappoint on any level. A traditional pound cake, it's heavy and dense with a fine crumb and full of butter and eggs. The lemon flavor is not overpowering, but you get a jolt of lemon from the syrup that is brushed on after baking, and the lemony glaze. We devoured it quickly. I think this would be a wonderful sweet to include to help celebrate Mother's Day, for a luncheon or an afternoon tea. I did not change the recipe, other than I didn't have the required amount of lemon zest the recipe asked for, so I added a bit more juice. At first glance I thought there were alot of details, but I discovered it was because you also make a syrup, and a glaze. Both were super easy and I advise that you don't skip those steps. Brushing this syrup over the warm cake not only imparts extra flavor, but helps to add moisture too. Hope you enjoy!

from Cook's Country-very slightly adapted

2 sticks of unsalted butter (16 tablespoons)- softened, but still somewhat cool
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice- recipe called for 1 1/2 T.
1 tablespoon lemon zest- recipe called for 1 1/2  T.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature- beaten

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. To make cake: Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter and dust with flour. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl.

2. Toss lemon zest and sugar together in a large bowl. Add butter and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl. Add in the eggs, in 3 additions, and beat well. Mixture will look curdled. With motor on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by the sour cream and lemon juice. Add another 1/3 of flour and mix well. Finish with the rest of the flour and mix, scraping the sides well. Mix until batter is smooth.

3. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release air bubbles. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Bake 55 to 70 minutes. Mine baked about 70.

4. For the Syrup: While the cake bakes, stir the 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice together in a saucepan. Cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

5. Cool the cake on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out on the rack. Brush the top and sides of the warm cake with the syrup and cool cake completely before glazing, about 2 hours. Use all the syrup.

6. For the glaze: Whisk the sifted confectioners sugar and the 1 tablespoon of lemon juice together until smooth. Spread glaze over cake and let set 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

NOTES: Like most cakes, this cake is more moist on the second day. According to CI, this cake will keep for 5 days, if wrapped tightly. It also freezes well. To freeze, apply the syrup, let cool, and wrap unglazed in two layers of plastic wrap. and freeze in a zip-lock bag for up to 1 month. I have not tried that. When ready to serve, defrost the wrapped cake at room temperature. Remove wrap and spread with the glaze.

TO MAKE 2 CAKES: double all the ingredients EXCEPT the eggs; use 9 eggs instead of 10.


  1. I love lemon flavored cakes!

  2. One of my favorite cakes. Looks delicious and I love the glaze!

  3. Sounds wonderful, love the lemony flavor!

  4. This kind of cake is a favorite in my family. The brushed on syrup and glaze add so much flavor and keep the cake nice and moist. This is going on my weekend menu. Thanks, Lynda, and I hope you have a very happy Mother's Day.

  5. I have a tree full of lemons and I've been looking for ways to use them and I think I've found one. Thank-you for the delicious looking recipe!

  6. I love fresh citrus flavors in desserts. This looks delightful. Not sure I ever got to the point, that I could suck on a lemon half but, certainly appreciate the tart lemon flavor. Awesome.


  7. I am sooooooooooo hooked on lemon right now...the flavor is like childhood. :)

  8. I'm addicted to lemon anything! I'm adding this to my list of things to make!

  9. I almost licked the screen. This cake looks great. I love lemon desserts.

  10. I am on a lemon kick lately, I would love to make this! Beautiful! I hope you had a great Mothers Day!

  11. the syrup and glaze are the key components for me--they absolutely take a standard pound cake and improve it 200%!

  12. This sounds wonderful! I still suck on lemons and lime, love them.


  13. I love lemon desserts - this pound cake looks and sounds wonderful.

  14. Your cake looks perfect! Love the frosting especially :)

  15. This looks and sounds like a wonderful cake. Their recipes are always first rate. I know I'd love to have a piece of this with my coffee. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  16. My husband and kids LOVE lemon--it made me think of my kids when I was reading your post, because they love to sit and suck on slices of lemon, too! I can't wait to try this cake and also think it would be a beautiful cake to bring the next time we go somewhere for brunch/dinner!

  17. I'm with you all the way on lemons, Lynda. Your pound cake looks wonderful...moist and all that delicious glaze dripping all over!!

  18. This looks and sounds great! I'd take lemon over chocolate any day! Thanks for the recipe!

  19. This is perfect for spring - all that luscious lemon. I typically make one lemon pound cake every spring and try different recipes - so noting this in my book. (I also sucked on lemons...)

  20. What a beautiful crumb this has. It's been a while since I've had a good pound cake. Love the icing on there, too.

  21. I just made a lemon strawberry cake which has set me up, wanting more lemon. This cake has tremendous promise and I am looking forward to making it.

  22. Good night!
    Good cake to take with tea.
    Kiss and good week.

  23. This cake would not last even 2 days at my house. It looks fantastic!

  24. Delicious cake, looks absolutely beautiful, hugs.


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