Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Lemon!

One of my primary motivations in what I bake is seeing a picture of something and saying, 'I want to eat that with my face right now.' Such was the motivation for this recipe and/or utter replication of one woman's picture. The original, far superior, Flickr picture is here. I stumbled on it while looking through shots of pound cake because I was still determined to remedy my foul up from a few weeks ago. She identified it as Lemon Pound cake with Blueberry Sauce and Coconut Gelato. Mmmmm. Yes please.

I stuck with Rose Levy Beranbaum for the lemon pound cake. You know how you have an idea of what something SHOULD taste like, even if you've maybe never had it that way? I always thought pound cake was supposed to be moist and melt-in-your-mouth a little. I was informed that it's not like that and that it's ultimately dry. I still have a sneaking suspicion my pound cake recipe is out there somewhere...

That's not to say this was bad - not at all. The light lemon was perfect: not too tart and not overwhelming. It only calls for zest in the actual batter and then you brush a lemon syrup over the rest of it later that is also very gentle and lovely. I especially enjoy it warmed up a little but I love warm cake so. That's me.

NOW. The lemon pound cake/blueberry sauce/coconut ice cream; it gets a C+ in my book and here's why: the coconut ice cream (which I'll post about next) is so mild, it's taken over even by the light lemon of the cake. And the blueberry sauce, Ina Garten's recipe, was surprisingly disappointing. There wasn't enough blueberry flavor; it kind of just tasted like syrup with a hint of blueberry. In the end, the cake was good alone and the ice cream was good alone but together they kind of cancelled each others' flavors out.

But reconstructing that beautiful picture was fun. :)

Source: Rose Levy Beranbaum

Ingredients at room temperature

3 tablespoons milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon loosely packed grated lemon zest
13 tablespoons unsalted butter (must be softened)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and line the bottom of one 8-inch by 4-inch by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment or wax paper, and then grease again and flour.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the milk, eggs and vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and lemon zest and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the egg mixture. Mix on low speed under the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 minute to aerate and develop the cake's structure.

Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. The batter will be almost 1/2 inch from the top of the 4-cup loaf pan. Bake 55 to 65 minutes (35 to 45 minutes in a fluted tube pan) or under a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Shortly before the cake is done, prepare the Lemon Syrup: In a small pan over medium heat, stir the sugar and lemon juice until dissolved. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a rack, poke the cake all over with a wire tester (or toothpick), and brush it with 1/2 the syrup. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a spatula and invert onto a greased wire rack. Poke the bottom of the cake with the wire tester, brush it with some syrup, and reinvert onto a greased wire rack. Brush the sides with the remaining syrup and allow to cool before wrapping airtight. Store 24 hours before eating to give the syrup a chance to distribute evenly. The syrup will keep the cake fresh a few days longer than a cake without syrup.

Source: Ina Garten

1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed
1 cup sugar
1 splash vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine the blueberries and sugar in a large heavy saucepan. Add 1 cup water and the lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken.

Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.


Steph said...

I know exactly what you mean! The part that bugs me the most is that considering all the fat that goes into a pound cake, you would think that it'd be super moist. If there's one pound cake I would recommend, it's the whipping cream pound cake (the elvis one) from epicurious. That is the best pound cake I've ever tried.. almost like a sara lee texture.. Very velvety and moist! The heavy cream gives it a wonderful melt in your mouth texture.

Despite your disappointment, the picture is very pretty!

Niki said...

Steph, that's so weird: I printed out Elvis' favorite pound cake and that was next on my list of To Try!! I assumed it had to be good because Elvis was a very wise man when it came to extravagant foods!

Christine said...

I'm the person who took the original Flickr photo. :-) You should really try Ina's cake recipe. It's not a pound cake, but it has a really dense texture like a pound cake would. But, it's insanely moist and has a brighter lemon taste than other cake I've tried. You're right about Ina's blueberry sauce - big disappointment! We make our own with less sugar, whole berries and cornstarch to thicken. I think the combination would be just as good with vanilla ice cream, but I really like the added subtle sweetness of the coconut.

Glad you tried the combo!

Grace said...

well, it is indeed a lovely shot, but what a shame the taste was disappointing. frankly, i'd just scrap the cake altogether and focus on the coconut ice cream--yum! looking forward to that post. :)

Niki said...

Christine: I'm so glad you're okay with the attempted replication; I truly meant it as the sincerest form of flattery!

Ina has been great to me in the past with her cakes so I will absolutely see what she has to offer in the form of pound cakes. She knows good cake! Thanks again for dropping a note! :D

Grace: The coconut ice cream was so surprising, I totally had to give it it's own post. Lol. And I've ended up eating more of it (read: ALL) than the pound cake so I guess that says something!! :)

Katie said...

Wow this looks wonderful. Can't get enough lemon