Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

When I was about 19 or 20 years old I purchased my first two cookbooks - The Fannie Farmer Cookbook and The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.  This recipe is from the latter and it is the perfect cake for any occasion.  It is easy to make and gets better with age --really!  It stays moist and delicious for several days at room temperature (and more if refrigerated) and it also freezes beautifully.  So, you can make it way in advance.  I love to serve this with whipped cream and berries.  It is also just perfect on its own!

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake
adapted from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book

4 eggs (at room temperature)
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons lemon zest (usually the zest of two lemons)
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan or two 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ -inch loaf pans.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and sift them together onto a large piece of waxed paper. Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until it is smooth and creamy. Slowly add the sugar, beating constantly, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Add the eggs all at once, and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Sprinkle half the flour mixture over batter and beat until well blended. Stir the lemon juice into the buttermilk. Beat half the buttermilk mixture into the batter. Add the remaining flour and buttermilk mixtures and beat until the batter is smooth and well blended. Stir in the lemon zest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans. Bake the bundt cake for 1 hour, the loaf cakes for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.

To Glaze:  Whisk together one cup confectioner's sugar and about 1-2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Start with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and add more until you have a thin glaze --see pictures below. 

Just hold the whisk right over the cake and allow glaze to fall over cake.