February 7, 2014
Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake
This week has been frigid in Oklahoma. We've had snow and ice (much less than our northern counterparts of course!) and subzero wind chills. Oh that wind! Rogers and Hammerstein were not kidding when they wrote those famous lyrics: "Oklahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain!"Some days I feel like it is just going to sweep us all right over the border into Texas.
In the midst of these cold dreary days this week I wanted to make something with a bright flavor for contrast. Somewhere around Tuesday my brain became fixated on lemons and I could not stop thinking about them until I had made something with them. Am I the only that happens to? Yes? That's what I was afraid of.
Lemon cakes are one of those recipes that work in almost any occasion. It will brighten things up in the dead of winter and cool you down in the worst of the summer heat. It's like the little black dress of the food world: always appropriate and chic.
I've tried a number of lemon cakes over the years and while they were all good, they weren't quite what I wanted. So I took my favorite pound cake and started tweaking. I added some lemon zest to the cake to bring the flavor in there without it going over the top lemon. Then I made a glaze to soak into the top layer of the cake and make the flavor pop without making the whole cake sticky. The result was perfect. It was crisp and bright without being cloyingly sweet or overly tart.
What are your favorite ways to brighten up these dreary winter days?
Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook and Cup of Jo
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
For the glaze:
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp water plus more if needed
1 cup confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep a loaf pan by spraying with a nonstick spray.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer beat the softened cream cheese for one minute. Add in the butter and the sugar and beat for 3-4 more minutes until it gets light in color and fluffy in texture. Add the vanilla and the lemon zest and beat until mixed through.
Next, add eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each one is added in. Scrape down the sides if needed between additions.
Add flour mixture and slowly beat until it is just incorporated. Finish mixing by hand.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check the pan every 30 minutes and rotate so it browns evenly. When a skewer comes out clean, the cake is done.
To make the glaze, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Add more water as needed to get the right consistency. It shouldn't be too thick so it will be absorbed into the cake itself.
As the cake cools, use a skewer to poke holes over the top and pour the glaze over so that it soaks into the cake. Let cake finish cooling and slice to serve.