Lemon Pound Cake
- 4 small lemons, organic if you can find them (Note: Avoid the giant lemons! Smaller lemons tend to pack more flavor, contain less water, and are cheaper too!)
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, that is completely softened*
- 3 cups superfine, Baker's or caster sugar*
- 6 eggs, warmed for 10 minutes in hot tap water before using
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 lemons
- 2 cups powdered-sugar*, sifted
1) Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 16-cup tube pan and dust with cake flour; tap out any excess. Be sure to grease and flour the center column too. You can also use Pam with Flour (I do).
2) Scrub the lemons with hot soapy water. Rinse really well and dry completely. Zest four of the lemons, being careful to avoid the pith (the white part that live right below the yellow part of the lemon). With a very sharp paring knife, cut the tops and bottoms off of each lemon.
3) With one cut side down on the cutting board, trim the pith off the lemon, vertically, going all the way around each lemon, exposing the flesh of the lemon. (About.com has a great little tutorial how to do this. They illustrate the technique with an orange but it translates to any citrus fruit). Over a bowl, cut segments from membranes, letting fruit and juice fall into the bowl, being sure to discard the seeds and the remaining membranes. With a fork, break segments into 1-inch pieces.
4) In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and the lemon zest. Work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Set aside.
5) Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
6) Beat the butter for 2 minutes at medium speed in the electric mixer. Add half the sugar and mix for 2 more minutes, then add the rest of the sugar and mix again for 4 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl and the beater blade.
7) Remove the eggs from the warm water and dry them. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition (about 30 seconds). On the lowest setting, mix in the dry ingredients, then the sour cream. Lastly, gently fold in the lemon juice and segments. Transfer batter to prepared pan
8) Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about an hour and a half. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut around the cake in the pan, turn out the cake. Carefully turn cake right side up on rack.
9) While the cake is cooling, juice the remaining 2 lemons. In a small bowl, slowly add the powdered sugar to the and stir until smooth. It should look thick, opaque, and should be thin enough to it should be pourable. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add more lemon juice. Poke small holes all over the top of the cake using a fork or toothpick. Carefully pour about 1/2 the glaze over the tops and the sizes of the cake. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours or overnight. Cover the remaining glaze and keep at room temperature. About a half hour before you're ready to serve, pour the remaining glaze over the cake.