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JohnRgt

Great Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

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This is Cooks Illustrated's near foolproof lemon pound cake recipe. They've managed to eliminate the emulsion-related tediousness of most great pound cake recipes.

(1 cup unsifted cake flour weighs 130g or ~4,6oz. Yes, weigh your baking ingredients. The variation inherent in the scoop and flatten measurement method is one of the reasons why home bakers don't enjoy consistent results.)

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Nice! Thanks for the recipe, John. I'll try it. I'm guessing you put it through your new, jet-powered Kitchen Aid stand mixer! :)

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They've managed to eliminate the emulsion-related tediousness of most great pound cake recipes.

What's the matter, John? Arm gets tired (or electric mixer starts to melt) creaming all that butter and sugar#@!?? :)

All kidding aside . . . Though certainly a time and effort saver, I can't imagine the Cooks Illustrated recipe has the proper density to be a true pound cake. It also closely resembles the recipe I once tried during my "I Will Master the Pound Cake" phase from the Williams Sonoma Cake book (sans lemon) which, apart from being "fluffier" than a true pound cake ought to be, I found to be entirely too sweet for my taste. Being a cake-lover, however, I'll give it a try and let you know how it turns out.

Though very simple, I think the pound cake is, in some ways, the hardest one to master given the weight of all the ingredients and that lengthy creaming process. I can still recall my grandmother creaming that butter and sugar for 15 or so minutes with her formidable right arm whipping her big wooden spoon around the bowl, and carefully but oh so carefully adding her eggs and flour. I suppose that accounts for the fact that I'm a bit old-fashioned when it comes to pound cake and still use the 1 pound rule -- 1 pound flour, 1 pound eggs, 1 pound butter, 1 pound sugar (flavorings, of course, being optional -- I use just a touch of Benedictine brandy for a plain one). The correct creaming technique is crucial -- too much too fast and the result will be oily and flat, too little and the result will fail to rise evenly and produce a too-dry crumb.

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Nice! Thanks for the recipe, John. I'll try it. I'm guessing you put it through your new, jet-powered Kitchen Aid stand mixer! :)

More like I wanted to see how many I could make at a time!

(Three so far, going for four next time.)

LoL

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John, let us know how you like your results.

I've been making this one for years, Rose. I just finally found the recipe on a site where CI consent looks likely.

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They've managed to eliminate the emulsion-related tediousness of most great pound cake recipes.

What's the matter, John? Arm gets tired (or electric mixer starts to melt) creaming all that butter and sugar#@!?? :)

Did I mention my other KitchenAid appliances?

LoL

All kidding aside . . . Though certainly a time and effort saver, I can't imagine the Cooks Illustrated recipe has the proper density to be a true pound cake. It also closely resembles the recipe I once tried during my "I Will Master the Pound Cake" phase from the Williams Sonoma Cake book (sans lemon) which, apart from being "fluffier" than a true pound cake ought to be, I found to be entirely too sweet for my taste. Being a cake-lover, however, I'll give it a try and let you know how it turns out.

It's damn close but, no, not a genuine pound cake. (Cake flour? What's that about!)

Though very simple, I think the pound cake is, in some ways, the hardest one to master given the weight of all the ingredients and that lengthy creaming process.

and

The correct creaming technique is crucial -- too much too fast and the result will be oily and flat, too little and the result will fail to rise evenly and produce a too-dry crumb.

Agreed. Still, this is a good recipe even though what it turns out, like 99.9% of pound cake out there, isn't a real pound cake.

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Well . . . if you and your KitchenAid are in for a challenge, here's a variation on the Pound Cake theme directly from Martha Washington and Mount Vernon. :) I cannot imagine what it was like to do this in an 18th Century kitchen.

Martha Washington's Great Cake

Take 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks and beat them to a froth. Then work 4 pounds of butter to a cream and put the whites of eggs to it a Spoon full at a time till it is well work'd. Then put 4 pounds of sugar finely powdered to it in the same manner then put in the Yolks of eggs and 5 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of fruit. 2 hours will bake it. Add to it half an ounce of mace and nutmeg half a pint of wine and some fresh brandy.

The folks at Mount Vernon used 2 pounds of raisins, 1 pound of currants, and 2 pounds of apples for the fruit, and used cream sherry for the wine. They also used a stiff egg-white based icing flavored with rosewater.

greatcake_l-1.jpg

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Well . . . if you and your KitchenAid are in for a challenge, here's a variation on the Pound Cake theme directly from Martha Washington and Mount Vernon. :) I cannot imagine what it was like to do this in an 18th Century kitchen.

Martha Washington's Great Cake

Take 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks and beat them to a froth. Then work 4 pounds of butter to a cream and put the whites of eggs to it a Spoon full at a time till it is well work'd. Then put 4 pounds of sugar finely powdered to it in the same manner then put in the Yolks of eggs and 5 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of fruit. 2 hours will bake it. Add to it half an ounce of mace and nutmeg half a pint of wine and some fresh brandy.

I'm going to need a dedicated 220V line! :)

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I talked about the lemon pound cake recipe with a few folks. They find CI's standard pound cake recipe to come closer to the real thing than the one I posted above. Here's a link to a site that puts a slight twist on the recipe (scan just short of half way down the page.)

16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), cold, plus extra for greasing pan

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1¾ cups cake flour (7 ounces), plus extra for dusting pan

½ teaspoon table salt

1¼ cups sugar (8 3/4 ounces)

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I suppose that accounts for the fact that I'm a bit old-fashioned when it comes to pound cake and still use the 1 pound rule -- 1 pound flour, 1 pound eggs, 1 pound butter, 1 pound sugar (flavorings, of course, being optional -- I use just a touch of Benedictine brandy for a plain one). The correct creaming technique is crucial -- too much too fast and the result will be oily and flat, too little and the result will fail to rise evenly and produce a too-dry crumb.

Both these recipes come close to the 1 pound rule. CI's trick/perversion is to bypass emulsion phase (I think that's why the use the cake flour.)

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Here's a page that puts a slight twist on CI's classic recipe (scan just short of half way down the page.)

I just made eight of these, two with the baking powder, the rest without. I didn't have the problems the recipe poster had with the original recipe. What I didn't like was that this recipe domes a lot in both planes (some don't.) So to get the equivalent of five cake-worth of serving slices I had to make eight cakes.

I wouldn't leave the butter out for 20-30 minutes. 10 minutes is enough, as the mixer will warm it up as it smashes it around the bowl. Also, if your stand mixer dances across the counter when you whip egg whites on medium high, there's a chance that it isn't powerful enough to emulsify the butter-eggs-sugar mix in this recipe.

(Pan fried slices with winter compote and soft, fresh ice cream.)

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Looking for a more substantial crumb, we made a batch of these with all purpose flour (1st recipe.) It works fine, yielding that hearty feel many associate with pound cake. (we'll increase the baking powder to 1.5tsp from 1tsp next time, just to check it out.)

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