When Citarella opened in New York City I used to stop by on weekends and buy their lemon pound cake. I don't know if they still have it or if it's made by the same people, but I have never had one like theirs. It was soft and moist and terribly lemony. Luckily, it came in small individual loafs, enough for two rounds of afternoon tea.
For years, I have tried unsuccessfully to replicate that pound cake. The texture was never quite right or the flavor not as lemony. The catalyst this weekend was the gorgeous strawberries at the farmers market. All I could think of on the way home was pound cake with berries and whipped cream for dessert! We did have a guest for dinner, the perfect excuse...so the quest started for a recipe to complement the loot and satisfy the craving. I think this time I finally succeeded.
Because of its long and flat shape, I call this a tea cake and as an alternative, would serve it alone for afternoon tea. It freezes well so once it's completely cooled, wrap half and stick it in the freezer for unexpected occasions. My daughter likes a thicker lemon glaze on top so I have included an optional glaze from one of the recipes I worked with.
The recipe is a blend of Martha Stewart's and Ina Garten's lemon pound cake. I have found that although buttermilk (Ina's) sounds great in a cake, it makes for a very tight crumb. I much prefer the texture you get from whole milk, something I have learned the hard way.
Martha Stewart's Lemon Pound Cake
I used Martha's recipe primarily and added a few things from Ina's such as the thicker lemon glaze on top and the 1/4 tsp of baking powder to make the cake slightly less dense. What neither of them said to do was to make a few holes in the cake with a toothpick, while still hot ,and immediately pour the glaze.
Serve this for dessert with your choice of berries and cream or alone for afternoon tea. Either way it's to die for!
8/22/11 If you want an unforgetable experience, cut a slice of the frozen poundcake, stick it in a preheated toaster ovem set to toast and cook 12 minutes. Let cool....Yummmmmyyyyyyyyyyy!
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
3/4 cup, plus 4 tablespoons sugar, plus more for dusting
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus finely grated zest of 2 lemons, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 Cup confectioners sugar
2-3 TB fresh lemon juice
2 pints of strawberries
1 pint of blueberries or blackberries
Whipped heavy cream
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Dust with sugar, and tap out excess; set aside. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir together 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the milk.
2.Put butter and 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs and zest. Working in two batches, alternate mixing in flour mixture and milk mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, stir together remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. In a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Upon removing cake from oven, take a toothpick and make about 10 holes in the pound cake. Immediately brush with 2/3 of lemon glaze until all is absorbed. Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes. Add the rest of the glaze. Unmold cake. Garnish with zest.
Combine strawberries, and blueberries or blackberries, and 1/3 cup sugar in small bowl and toss gently to blend. Add fresh mint if desired. Let stand until juices form, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Cut cake crosswise into slices. Serve with berries and whipped cream or ice cream.
Optional: If you want a heavier glaze on top, reduce step #3 to 3 tbs sugar and 2 tbs. lemon juice. Pour over the cake while still hot. Then combine 1 cup confectioners' sugar with 2 - 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.
Also check out Lindaraxa's Signature Pound Cake
Photo: Randy Major, Jan Gautro