For some reason, I tend to enjoy cakes that have a citrus flavoring especially during the hot summer months. Add to the light, fine texture of this fruit base cake a glaze that is thick and full of flavored sunshine, and well, ya got yourself one of my favorite pound cakes I know. Moist and light, the secret is not over-beating the butter-sugar mixture and tenderly incorporating in the eggs and flour.
All around the south and all throughout the states, heck, even all over the world, lemon tends to be a favorite flavor too in so many cakes and desserts. This particular pound cake varies somewhat from kitchen to household in the ingredients used, but the lemony taste and appearance is nothing short of the ultimate essence of a true southern cake. I find small lemons to have better flavor, more juice too than the larger, pithier ones.
This is a classic I'm telling ya. Real fine. Why, it's finer than snuff and ain't half as dusty. Go ahead, get to baking and see what I mean. The cake is like going back in time, to dinner-on-the-grounds, homecoming if you know what I mean. Many folks say this glaze is the best they have had, shucks, I reckon I better stop now before you start beating down my door.
Southern Lemon Pound Cake with Fresh Lemon Glaze
3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups superfine sugar (also known as baker's or caster sugar)
6 large eggs
zest from 2 lemons
fruit sections from 2 small lemons and enough juice to make 1 tablespoon
1 cup whole buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
juice of 1 small lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups or more superfine sugar
Make sure everything is at room temperature! Butter is ready when a butter knife passes through effortless by just resting the blade's edge on top. Eggs can be submerged in warm tap-water for about 15 minutes to help warm them up. Lemons and shortening need to be left out of the refrigerator at least 6 hours, buttermilk at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour the inside of a tube pan (9 1/2 or 10 inches wide). It is best to line the bottom with wax or parchment paper to prevent overcooking.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl for the cake. Add the eggs to a medium bowl and stir together to mix.
In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and shortening beating with an electric mixer on medium-high speed about 15 seconds until smooth. Slowly add the sugar while motor is still running taking about 30 seconds to do so. Beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes until almost white. Scarpe down the sides once or twice.
Add the eggs very slowly in a steady stream beating at medium-high speed taking about 4 minutes total time. Add the lemon zest and sections with juice and decrease speed to low. Alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk stirring on low speed until the batter is smooth yet just mixed together. Remove beaters and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and fold the batter from the bottom upwards to incorporate all together.
Scrape the batter into the prepared tube pan and smooth out the surface. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick by inserting it into the center of the cake and is free of moist batter. A crumb is okay. Cake should not take longer than 1 hour 50 minutes. Look for the top to be golden brown and firm when pressed with finger.
Remove from oven. Let rest for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides and center of the pan to loosen and invert onto a wire rack or serving plate. Remove the paper. Let rest another 5 minutes while making glaze.
Make the glaze by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle about half of the glaze over the top of the warm cake and use a cake spatula to even the glaze. Spread the glaze around the sides and in the center hole too. Keep adding the glaze all over the cake until all is used. Let cake cool completely and glaze harden before cutting.
This is really good served with fresh fruit or fruit flavored ice creams. Cover and store at room temperature for a couple of days or refrigerate up to a 5 days if it last that long.
October 2013: Here is one version I made recently using clemetines in the batter and glaze. I then added fresh clementine sections to a small batch of glaze and with cut sections of crystallized ginger, a fabulous seasonal cake transpired.