It was shocking to realize I hadn’t baked anything in about two and a half months–which was when I embarked upon the first epic novel writing adventure of 2013–and the baking bug bit me hard yesterday evening. My refrigerator is packed with unsalted butter, my flour stashes are full, I have two 18 cartons of eggs, and sugar is plentiful, so as is my wont, I began baking before I started dinner! At first I thought about making another batch of shortbread until I remembered the half-eaten batch that ended up covered in drippings when I left it in the oven while cooking bacon, and switched my baking agenda to a pound cake. The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook is my absolute favorite modern cookbook because the people at the Test Kitchen get me: I don’t just care about what to cook, but the hows and whys of cooking. Why are eggs the basis of cake-making? What are the pros and cons of making pie crust with butter+shortening or butter only? Yolk wash or egg white wash for pastries?
You get the picture.
I trust their recipes implicitly, but I was not exactly satisfied by the pound cake recipe because it always tasted too eggy. On a whim a few months ago, I used two eggs instead of four and dumped some Greek yogurt into the food processor (I figured it’s an emulsifier–but correct me if I’m wrong). The cake was moist and less eggy, but it was a little too crumbly! The next time I used sour cream instead of the Greek yogurt and perfect! I had a bag of lemons on hand that had begun to ripen, so I figured what better use for them than a lemon pound cake? The Test Kitchen cookbook lists variations of the basic pound cake recipe (lemon, ginger, and orange), so admittedly, this is a very slight adaptation of theirs.
Lemon Pound Cake
(adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter (melted)
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour loaf pan.
2. Place sugar in bowl and squeeze lemon juice into it (don’t worry about clumps)
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl
4. Process sugar-lemon mixture, vanilla extract, eggs, and sour cream in food processor. Keep processor running while you pour melted butter into processor. Mix for 30 seconds.
5. Pour liquid mixture into large bowl, then whisk flour mixture—1/3 part at a time—into this. Mix until most clumps are gone.
6. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.
Enjoy with a dollop of lemon curd or whipped cream!