Pound cakes are refreshingly uncomplicated, and this one is based on a favorite Julia Child recipe, Lemon Loaf Cake, from her cookbook Baking with Julia. Ours has a few additions, like lemon simple syrup and sweet cream icing. When in season, grilled stone fruit makes an excellent accompaniment!
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Grated zest of 3 large lemons
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour, shaking out the excess.
Working in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt for just a minute, until foamy and smoothly blended; the mixture should not thicken. Whisk in the grated zest.
Spoon the flour and baking powder into a sifter and sift about a third of the dry ingredients over the foamy egg mixture. Whisk the flour into the eggs, mixing lightly - there's no need to beat. Sift the flour over the eggs in two more additions and whisk only until everything is incorporated. Whisk the heavy cream into the mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently and quickly fold in the melted butter.
Baking the cake: Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan - it will level itself - and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center of the cake crowns and cracks and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake to a cooling rack to rest for 10 minutes before unmolding. Cool to room temperature right side up on a rack.
You can serve this cake as soon as it cools, although there are those who believe that a pound cake needs a day to ripen. Make a taste test for yourself. In any case, the cake should be sliced with a serrated knife and served in thin slices, a pair to a plate (see below for tasty additions and serving suggestions).
Storing: Once cooled, the cake should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. It will keep at room temperature for 3 or 4 days or, if double-wrapped, can be frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.
Tasty Additions and Serving Suggestions:
Lemon Simple Syrup: Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar with 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cake is done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and place on a tray or sheet pan; spoon half of the lemon simple syrup over the cake (the other half will be used to serve over the grilled peaches). Allow the cake to cool completely.
Grilled Peaches: Preheat grill. Cut 4 firm peaches in half and remove the pits. Place peaches on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill for 3 minutes on each side. Cool then slice and serve with the lemon cake. Drizzle peaches with remaining Lemon Simple Syrup.
Sweet Cream Icing: Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons Sweet Cream Flavor NESTLÉ COFFEE-MATE NATURAL BLISS All-Natural Coffee Creamer in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the top of the cake.