lemon pound cake

We are a few weeks into Spring and here in the Northeast, it still feels like mid-Winter. This is when I start thinking seriously about moving to San Diego. I glare at the grey skies. I wander up and down the citrus aisle at the supermarket.

I spy lemons. What fruit better represents what I long for? Fresh, bright, zesty— everything I need to kick me out of the doldrums.

Put these babies into a pound cake and you've got Spring in a Loaf.

French Lemon Pound Cake
from Flour by Joanna Chang

2 cups cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to slightly warm
¼ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
4 eggs
1½ cups granulated sugar

Lemon Glaze
½ cup confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (½ to 1 lemon)

Position a rack in the center of the oven , and heat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick liquid. If the butter hardens into little lumps, heat the mixture gently until the butter melts again. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat together the eggs and granulated sugar on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy and lemon colored.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined. Fold about one-fourth of the egg-flour mixture into the butter-cream mixture to lighten it. Then fold the remaining egg-flour mixture just until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and springs back when you press it in the middle. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

To make the lemon glaze:
While the cake is cooling, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and enough of the lemon juice to make an easily spreadable, smooth glaze. When the cake has cooled for at least 30 minutes, pop it out of the pan and place it on the rack. Spread or spoon the glaze over the top of the still-warm cake, letting the glaze dribble down the sides.

The cake can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.


ranger cookie

I sampled this cookie about twelve years ago at The Thespian's home. We dropped by her home unannounced and she pulled out a tub of frozen cookie dough, defrosted it in the microwave, and baked up a fresh batch of cookies for us. I made a mental note of that. What better way to welcome people into your home?!


jam thumbprint

This cookie stole my heart at the last Christmas cookie exchange. If there had been a contest, it would have won first place.


waste not... panettone bread pudding with amaretto cream sauce

You will have to tell me if you disagree, but I don't think I've ever met a moist panettone.

The one Big Brother brought home for Christmas was thisclosetonotdry. (As with all baked goods, the panettone is best eaten the day it is baked.) In previous years, I've sliced, toasted and buttered for a few days and then dumped the rest. In the spirit of wasting not, I found the best solution to use up the leftovers.


super bowl sweets

On February 2, most of America will be firmly ensconced in cushy couches, eating chips, wings, pizza and other gut enhancing foods. I am so there, gut notwithstanding. Super Bowl Sunday is the second largest food-consumption day in the good 'ole USA, behind only, you guessed it, Thanksgiving. For shame, I've never dwelt too hard about the dessert portion of it, as the wings/pizza/chips combo loom larger than usual and take precedence. I usually make a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

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