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Thursday, 17 July 2008
I am a great pound cake fan. The making is simple and the results are always reliably good. When I want to make a cake but time or mood does not allow for a more complex recipe this is what I turn to. The comforting pleasure of mixing equal quantities of ingredients with the addition of simple flavourings and frostings safe in the knowledge that it will actually turn out beautifully is absolute therapy in the kitchen for me.
The pound cake originated several centuries ago in England from yeast leavened bread-like cakes. The name comes from the fact that the original pound cakes contained one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. No leaveners were used other than the air whipped into the batter. These cakes were rich and dense. By the mid 1800's pound cake recipes began to deviate slightly from the original formula to make a lighter cake. Some recipes even contained a liquid, such as alcohol or rose water. It wasn't until the 20th century that artificial leaveners (baking powder/soda) were added. Today, pound cakes use different proportions of the same ingredients as the original formula to produce a lighter cake.
This recipe is more of a quarter pound cake. I took it from Bill Granger's Everyday. Lovely and tangy. I am frequently asked for the recipe. A much loved cake.
I sometimes make it in a loaf tin or an eight inch square tin or as pictured two small tins and sandwich together.
Lemon Pound Cake
250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
250g/9oz caster sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
4 free-range eggs
250g/9oz self-raising flour, sifted
lemon butter icing
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Grease and line the base of a deep 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.
3. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.
5. Fold in the sifted flour in two batches until well combined.
6. Spoon into the tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean (you can cover the cake loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly).
7. Cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin and turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Ice with lemon butter icing.
Lemon Butter Icing
75G/3oz Unsalted butter
100G/4oz Icing Sugar
2 teasps finely grated lemon zest
2 teasps lemon juice
Beat the butter until soft and white.
Add lemon zest and juice
Gradually beat in sifted icing sugar
Spread over the cake
If making a sandwich cake you will need more of the buttercream
I add a good squeeze of lemon juice to the cake mixture too. Gives it more flavour I think.
I made this again yesterday but I was not in the mood for faffing about creaming etc. I bunged it all in the food processor and added a pinch of baking powder. It was so thick and feather light