The pound cake is one of the most basic cakes to bake in a home kitchen. The traditional recipes simply call for a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour and a pound of eggs, all combined and baked into a huge loaf that can feed quite a lot of people.
The more modern recipes would have these four ingredients in equal amounts to add up to one pound, which would yield a good size of cake for a small family. I noticed that current recipes do not follow the strict rule of equal amounts of each ingredient but tweak the measurements to achieve the best result in texture and flavour.
Having been liberated from the confines of this rule, my mother-in-law and I tested the recipe by reducing the sugar and found that the taste and texture phenomenal, and we didn’t miss the surplus sugar. Moreover, the whole house was perfumed with aroma of butter baked with lemon zest as it wafted through the kitchen.
The recipe that we had based our trials on says to drizzle the juice over the cake, but we found that it caused uneven distribution of the juice with pockets of extreme sourness in some places. Our solution is to paint the juice over the cake with a pastry brush, allowing it to penetrate into the numerous holes we had poked into the cake.
The result: a truly appetizing cake with bursts of lemony freshness, a delightful buttery flavour, a velvety crumb and a crunchy crust. It never had a chance to cool down completely before it was polished off the table. You may serve it with sweetened whipped cream, but it is optional because it is so good on its own.
- 2 lemons
- 225g unsalted butter, plus 25g more for the pan
- 200g castor sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 210g all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 100ml whole milk
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- Spread a loaf pan with a generous coating of butter. Line the pan with baking parchment and spread another coating of butter on the paper.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
- Grate the zest of both lemons into a mixing bowl. Add butter and sugar into the mixing bowl and cream together until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.
- Fold in sifted flour in batches, alternating with some milk each time, until combined.
- Pour into the loaf pan, spread out evenly and bake in preheated oven at 180°C for 50-60 minutes until the cake is done using the skewer test.
- Allow to cake to cool for 10 minutes. In the meantime, squeeze out the juice from half a lemon. While the cake is still quite hot, poke 20-30 holes evenly throughout the cake with a skewer. Then brush lemon juice all over the top and sides of the cake, allowing the juice to soak through the holes in the cake. Then cool completely before serving with a good dollop of sweetened whipped cream.