The Ladies' Tea Guild

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lovely lemon pound cake.

Meyer lemon and thyme pound cakes.
I love having a Meyer lemon tree in the backyard, because it gives me lots of lemons to use in making lemon curd, lemonade, and in this interesting pound cake. I originally saw the recipe in the April 2009 issue of Victoria magazine, and decided to make it for a tea party this weekend. Since my birthday is also this weekend, and the recipe makes two cakes, it will also serve as my birthday cake!

The recipe is unlike traditional pound cakes because it has buttermilk and baking powder in it, which should lighten the texture a bit. I couldn't make the recipe as directed, however, because I don't have a mixer, so I don't know exactly how my hand-mixing has affected the cakes. They look flatter than other pound cakes, so I suspect that the extra leavening didn't compensate for my arms that could beat the batter only so much before giving out! The cakes smell good, and the batter tasted good when I tasted it, so I think my tea friends will like them anyway.

Meyer Lemon and Thyme Pound Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 T. Meyer lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon zest
2 T. chopped fresh thyme
4 eggs

1 recipe Meyer Lemon Glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put oven rack in the center of the oven. Grease and flour two loaf pans, line the bottoms with parchment, and grease the parchment. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt, sift three times and set aside. In a separate bowl [I used a measuring cup] combine the buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla and set aside. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer at high speed, beat the butter for 1 minute, or until soft and creamy. Slowly add the sugar, zest and thyme, then increase the speed again and beat the mixture for 10 minutes or until very light and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry (flour) and liquid (buttermilk) mixtures alternately to the butter mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 40 minutes; then cover the pans with tinfoil and bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack, and cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Carefully remove cakes from pans, and spoon Meyer Lemon Glaze over the tops. Cool completely before serving. Makes 2 loaves.

Meyer Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out

In a small bowl, whisk together the juice, sugar and vanilla bean seeds until smooth. Use immediately.

Alterations I made to the recipe: I couldn't find regular cake flour, so I used Gold Medal Wondra Sauce and Gravy flour. It seemed to be grittier than the regular flour, so I wonder how or if that will affect the texture of the cake. I substituted regular milk plus a tablespoon of lemon juice for the buttermilk, which I didn't have. Also, I only had 3 eggs, so I added a teaspoon or so of oil and water in place of the 4th egg. I didn't put the full 2 tablespoons of thyme into the batter, because my bunch of thyme was, largely dried out and I could only get a little more than 1 tablespoon that looked nice and fresh. When making the glaze, I used vanilla extract for the vanilla bean seeds, and only had 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar to use, so my glaze turned out too thin. But other than the above, I made the recipe exactly as instructed, and it looks and smells great! It will go nicely with some Phoenix oolong tea that I have.


janice15 said...

I made this cake yesterday...and it didn't rise right..I don't know why. I thought maybe it had to much butter 2 cups seemed like a lot. The batter tasted great I did everything exact...Feb. 18, 2013 Janice

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

Hmm, I don't know why, either, unless perhaps your leavening is old and has lost its oomph ... I haven't made this cake since I posted the recipe, so maybe it's time to try it again and see if I can get it right. I remember that the texture of my cake seemed dense, even for a pound cake, so maybe there is too much butter in the recipe!

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)