When Life Gives You Lemons… Perfect Ten Lemon Pound Cake

August 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I recently helped out a friend by driving him to the airport and, to thank me, he gave me a load of lemons from a tree in his backyard and a recipe for lemonade. (This, by the way, is an excellent summer ‘thank you’ gift.) However, I had a just-opened bottle of Simply Lemonade already in my fridge, and Brad is really the only juice drinker in the house, so I decided to find some alternate uses for these lemons. Now, I have had this problem before and immediately made a lemon chicken grilled summer vegetable pasta dish.

After dinner, I realized I still had quite a few lemons left.

Some lemons.

I’ve been getting into baking more lately, and asked Brad what sorts of lemony desserts he would like. “Lemon bars and lemon pound cake,” he answered, quickly and enthusiastically, as if he had been waiting for that very question at first sight of the bag-o-lemons. I searched the internet for a lemon pound cake recipe, and found that this one on foodnetwork.com looked closest to what I wanted.

The reason pound cake is named as such is because it was originally made by combining a pound of each sugar, flour, butter and eggs. The fact that this recipe didn’t have equal parts flour and sugar didn’t seem right to me, so I upped the sugar to 1.5 cups and made a few other changes based on the reviews and personal tastes. These changes have created what Brad described as a 10 out of 10, perfect lemon cake. And I have to agree. I ate two.. ahem… three… pieces within 45 minutes of removing it from the oven. The toasty flavor of the darkened crust pairs perfectly with the sweetened lemon glaze that soaks in and coats it. The yellow inside has just the right combination of sweet and sour, along with that soft, sticky, crumbly butteriness that makes pound cake so delicious.

Perfect Ten Lemon Pound Cake
Makes 1 loaf, 10-12 slices 

Sliced down the middle so Brad wouldn't be able tell how many pieces I ate.

For Cake:‎
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice

For Glaze:
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 6-cup loaf pan and line it with parchment or waxed paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter. Add the sugar and mix. With the mixer running at low speed, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla & lemon extracts and lemon zest.

Working in alternating batches, and mixing after each addition, add the dry ingredients and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice to the butter mixture. Mix until just smooth. Add yellow food coloring if desired.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until raised in the center and a tester inserted into the center comes out dry and almost clean (a few crumbs are OK), 50-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/3 cup lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until glaze reached desired consistency and the sugar is dissolved.

When the cake is done, let cool in the pan 15 minutes (it will still be warm). Run a knife around the sides of the pan. Set a wire rack on a sheet pan with sides (to catch the glaze) and turn the cake out onto the rack. Peel off the waxed paper.

Using a turkey baster or pastry brush, spread glaze all over the top and sides of the cake and let soak in. Repeat until the entire glaze is used up, including any glaze that has dripped through onto the sheet pan. Let cool at room temperature and devour.


Since I am apparently hosting a lemon party (haha!) this week, take this bonus marinade recipe. It is good for chicken or steak (I haven’t tried it on pork or fish) and it is REALLY good for chicken or steak.

Mediterranean Marinade

juice of two lemons
6 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
pour of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
pour of honey (about 1 tablespoon)
generous shakes of onion powder, salt, pepper and smoked paprika (maybe a teaspoon each)

Mix all ingredients together and add meat of your choice. I find using a ziplock bag for this works really well in maximizing the effective meat-to-marinade ratio. Refrigerate for several hours (I marinated both chicken breast and top sirloin kebab pieces for 6 hours). Remove meat from marinade and grill.


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