Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons

... make lemonade.  Or so the saying goes.  But that's speaking of metaphorical lemons.  What happens when your aunt gives you lemons?  Lots and lots and lots of real, literal, bright yellow lemons from her tree that seems to produce them in abundance?  If you're Christine (me), you start furiously Googling lemon everything.  Lemon cake (Smitten Kitchen has a lemon poppyseed cake that looks divine), lemon cookies, lemon bars, lemon tarts.  You name it, I looked for it.  The only problem was I had tons of lemons and was trying to avoid going to the grocery store to buy supplies.  You see, I have a ton of stuff at home already.  Stuff a plenty for cookies, cakes, and everything in between.  So why is it then that lemony treats require so many extras.  Who has poppy seeds laying around their house?  Who has the time to create a glaze for these cookies?  Not me.  So, being the lazy baker that I sometimes I am, I eliminated recipe after recipe in the search for something delicious that could be made with ingredients I already have.

That, my friends, is how I found it.  A lemon pound cake recipe that will forever be my lemon pound cake recipe.  Are you that kind of person?  The kind of person who finds a recipe they love and then stops searching for others?  I've never been a "grass is greener" kind of girl, so I think I'll call it a day.  Unless you can find me something yummier and easier, this my friends, will be the lemon dessert that beckons me when those 234823 lemons get dropped off at my house by my aunt.

It goes a little something like this...

It's called Sour Cream and Lemon Pound Cake by Epicurious, except that title is deceiving because I didn't use sour cream at all.  So I'm just shortening the title to Lemon Pound Cake, lest I have to awkwardly call it Plain Whole Fat Yogurt and Lemon Pound Cake.

Start by zesting those lemons.  I normally do this first, because it takes the most work and I like to prep things before I get started, lest I get distracted and forget something.

I think it's kind of random that I chose to use a yellow bowl with the lemons, but it's what I had on hand.  Oh well.  Look at how selflessly those lemons gave me their zest.


Then you've got to cut and squeeze those lemons to get out all of their juicy goodness.  I'm telling you, my aunt produces some super lemons.  The zest is super lemony and fragrant and the lemons themselves are FULL of juice.  Next time I get a bunch, I'll share them with you so you can make this recipe too :)
As an aside, this is why I registered for a lemon squeezer.  Because juicing 12-13 lemons by hand = super tired sad hands.

This recipe should be called "heart attack with lemon" cake.  This is the two sticks of butter with three cups of sugar.  This is before the six eggs.

I decided to alter the recipe and make little bundts since they are what I had on hand.  Look at my mom's cute little bundt pan, buttered and floured and ready to go.

There is my brother with his Harry Potter glasses, pretending to help.

Filled and ready to jump into a warm oven...

I know you're not supposed to open a hot oven while something's baking (because you easily lose heat in the oven when you open the door, which could mar your baked good), but I saw these through the window and couln't resist.  They rose much more than I thought they would.

All the rising meant the little holes at the bottom were covered.  Oh well, they turned out gorgeously, don't you think?

Perfect for sharing.  Not for eating all by yourself.

And here is the recipe:

Lemon Pound Cake, adapted from Epicurious.com:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used a little more, just because I wanted to be sure that the lemon flavor came through)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup full fat plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease mini bundt pan. Dust pan with cake flour; tap out excess flour - I used PAM baking spray with flour.  Worked like a charm and is so much easier and less messy than using butter/shortening and flour.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat 5 minutes (it seems like a long time, but it takes this long for the softened butter and sugar to really come together).

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined after each addition (with so many eggs and such a great potential for shells, I cracked all six eggs into a bowl and then slid them into the mixer one by one, yolk with some white by yolk with some white.  It's not an exact science, but it sure beats trying to dig egg shell out of your batter).

Beat in lemon juice and peel. Using rubber spatula, mix in dry ingredients. Mix in yogurt.  Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on rack 15 minutes.  Carefully turn cake right side up on rack and cool completely.  (If you're using a full-size bundt pan, the baking time will be considerably longer - more in the range of 1 hour and 30 minutes, like the original recipe says.  Because I was making smaller cakes I cut the baking time to 25 minutes and then checked the cakes every 3 minutes to see how they were coming along.  I found that 30-35 minutes gave a perfectly golden crust and deliciously moist cake).



  1. Yes... I'm convinced that this blog is a trap. I love reading it but now it's 2:30am and I'm craving some of your lemon poundcake!

    ps. I have no idea why your picture was the weird purple thing...

  2. Caro, I think you're the only person who reads my blog on a regular basis, but even if I blog just for you, it's worth it. Hahaha :D