Let’s be clear here – I love to cook. I do NOT love to bake. (Insert sidebar: I DO, however, love to devour baked goods.) My cooking preference is for what I consider to be rather obvious reasons. “Cooking” features an elaborate collection of imaginative ingredients with curious names: scampi, curry, garam masala (WHA???!!!), artichokes, marinara, osso buco (drool). It also involves creative techniques: braise, sauté, roast, barbecue, fricassee … “Baking” involves nondescript staples like, ummmm, flour, baking soda and sugar. (Snore.) Yet lately, for some random reason, I’ve been experimenting with the powdery, white stuff. NOOO!! Not THAT stuff – GEEZ! Nevertheless, I rather suspect that my recent affinity for baking is more a result of eyeing those conspicuous bins of plump, juicy raspberries, cherries, blueberries and citrus at the market than any new curiosity pondering the boundless uses of all-purpose flour. (Insert another sidebar: upon reviewing this intro paragraph, it’s blatantly obvious that I also love to use exclamation points and parentheses. A lot!!!)
I arrived home from the market earlier this week cradling a heaping carton of fresh raspberries. After gently placing the pinkalicious beauties in the sink for a rinse, it occurred to me that I had just about NO time to spare before they would begin to spoil. See, that’s the thing with berries – their life expectancy is short-lived at best. And finding fuzzy green fur on my 3-day old berries just ruins, well, everything. Ewww! But enough already on the contemplation of berry blight. I’ve been stockpiling a selection of pound cake recipes for the simple reason that I luv me some poundcake slathered with butter alongside morning coffee when I’m feeling the need to “rage against the workout machine.” I also luv me some pound cake topped with a multitude of berries and a huge dollop of whipped cream for dessert. On occasion. Thankfully, there are certain cooks whose recipes inspire and appeal to me, and always manage to turn out deliciously wonderful despite my random culinary faux-pas. One of those cooks, the Barefoot Contessa, has published a recipe for her lemon pound cake. Sam at Love, Cake (BTW she’s is a baking goddess) has also posted her recipe for Raspberry-Lemon Pound Cake. Using bits and pieces of both recipes and a few of my own musings, I concocted an incredibly delicious interpretation. (Just an FYI, if you’ve not yet discovered the decadently sweet, tart combination of raspberries and lemons, here’s the scoop: they ALWAYS taste amazing together!)
Raspberry-Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze
Makes 6 mini-loaves or 2 (8-inch) loaves
Prep: 30 minutes/Cook: 40-50 minutes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temp
- 2 large eggs, at room temp
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 3 large lemons), plus 1-2 tablespoons for garnish (optional)
- 2 cups cake flour (see Cook’s Note, below)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting loaf pans)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (low fat is fine), at room temp
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces fresh raspberries
For the Lemon Syrup:
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
For the Glaze:
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease and dust the loaf pans using 1 tablespoon of the butter and a few tablespoons of flour. Shake any remaining excess flour out of the pans and set them on a large baking sheet.
Place the remaining butter in a large bowl. Add the sugar and blend with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, occasionally scraping down the bowl. Fold the lemon zest into the mixture with a spatula.
In another large bowl, combine the 3 cups of flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate small bowl, mix 1/4 cup of lemon juice with the buttermilk and vanilla.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the batter, blending well with your mixer on medium speed. Follow with half of the buttermilk mixture, again blending thoroughly. Mix another 1/3 of the flour into the batter, and follow with the remaining buttermilk. Finally, blend the remaining flour into the batter. (Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.)
If you’re using mini loaf pans, pour about 1/2 cup of the batter into each loaf pan. (If using two 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ pans, pour 1/4 of the batter into each pan.) Sprinkle a heaping handful of raspberries on top of the batter.
Finish by evenly spooning the remaining batter on top of each loaf pan, and lightly tap to eliminate any air pockets. Bake 40-43 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (If using the larger loaf pans, bake for 45-55 minutes.)
While the cakes are baking, make the lemon syrup. Combine 1/3 cup of granulated sugar with 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice in a small pan. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves completely. When the cakes are finished baking, allow them to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Brush them with the lemon syrup, then leave them to cool to room temperature.
For the lemon glaze, combine the confectioner’s sugar and 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl, and whisk until smooth. (Note: If you pour the glaze into a plastic sandwich bag, then cut the tip off one of the edges, it will make for some easy-peasy drizzling!)
Drizzle the glaze over the pound cakes, sprinkle with a pinch of lemon zest, if desired, and serve. The poundcake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and foil and frozen for a few months. They’ll also keep fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days, but why risk it? Just gather your family or friends and gobble them up ASAP!
I realize that many cooks use yogurt and/or sour cream in their pound cakes, but honestly, the tangy lemons and sweet, juicy raspberries combined with creamy buttermilk results in a splendid combination of flavors! Please give it a try – I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or comments.
Cook’s note: If you don’t have cake flour on hand, you can create a substitute. For one cup of cake flour use this formula: Remove 2 tablespoons of flour from one cup of all-purpose flour. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the flour and stir to blend well. Voilá – instant cake flour!