Lemon Pound Cake

 Light in texture, this pound cake has a subtle, not too overpowering lemon flavor from the use of both fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest. The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to five days, or a month when wrapped in the freezer.

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Lemon Pound Cake

After a week-long storm, one of my dwarf Meyer lemon trees was suddenly overflowing with big and beautiful fragrant lemons, which also happen to be my absolute favorite citrus to cook with… That means over the next several weeks you can expect to see a couple more lemon recipes before I run out of lemons and inspiration. So far in my lemon expedition, I’ve mostly been making sweets with one main dish (or side dish) recipe to likely fill out my editorial calendar for February and into March, right when lemons are at their best!

Fluffy and moist lemon pound cake.

Today’s lemon pound cake was the result of a happy accident after I juiced and zested one too many lemons for my all-time favorite lemon squares. Unsure of what to do with the leftovers, I decided to take a chance and add a bit of both to my go-to summer pound cake, which I typically serve with freshly sliced strawberries.

Pound cake tends to have a reputation for being really thick and dense, however a few years back I picked up the ultimate trick to ensure moist, fluffy pound cake every time. Rather than using my stand mixture, I use my food processor to combine all of my liquids, including the still-hot-from-the-microwave butter. With the blade still running, it makes it impossible for the eggs to curdle against the hot butter. Initially I was concerned that the lemon juice would still curdle against the hot butter, but those concerns were quickly put to rest.

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The finished result ended up working out better than I could have anticipated. Since I didn’t use a lot of lemon juice or zest, the lemon flavor is subtle; not too overwhelming on the palate. I couldn’t help but quickly jaunt down exactly what I did and remade it when we had guests over for dinner a few days later for a simple, yet impressive dessert to end the evening.

The two times I baked this lemon pound cake, I had two different obstacles to tackle due to the rain. The first time, the top of the cake cracked, which to me isn’t a huge deal, but if you’re looking for something picture perfect, the solution is pretty easy: lemon syrup followed by a lemon glaze that will help fill in any cracks. I actually preferred the cake with the syrup and glaze topping, mainly because it gave the overall cake a more refined appearance. The second time I baked it, there was an unusual humidity in the air (which some of us Californians call earthquake weather), and the batter took a bit longer to fully bake, so you’ll notice the estimated baking time is anywhere from 50 to an hour and five minutes. In other words, keep an eye on this lemon pound cake as it gets closer to the desired cook time.

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Lemon Pound Cake Ingredients & Instructions


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl and set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, pulse sugar, eggs, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla in food until combined. With the processor running, add melted butter in steady stream until combined. Transfer mixture into large bowl.

  3. Sift flour mixture over egg mixture in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition until few streaks of flour remain. Continue to whisk batter gently until no lumps are visible. Do not over whisk.

  4. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top with an offset spatula. Wipe any drops of batter off sides of pan and gently tap pan on counter to release air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with few moist crumbs, 50 minutes to 1 hour and 5 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

  5. FOR THE SYRUP: While the pound cake bakes, combine the sugar and lemon juice together in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, then remove from heat, and set aside.

  6. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run small knife around edge of cake to loosen, then flip cake out onto wire rack. Turn cake right side up and let cool completely, before serving. If using syrup and glaze, brush the syrup over the cake while still warm to the touch.

  7. Once the pound cake has completely cooled, whisk confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in bowl until smooth. Spread glaze over cake, allowing some to drip down sides. Let glaze set for at least 15 minutes before serving.

FOR LEMON POUND CAKE

  • 1 1/2cups cake flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 16tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still hot

OPTIONAL SYRUP

  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

OPTIONAL GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

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What’s your secret to making a moist pound cake?