I can’t deny it, chocolate is a wonderful thing. And many of us crave rich chocolatey desserts or, at times, an eye-catching, cream cheese frosted red velvet cake. But the beauty and simplicity of a lemon pound cake can be just as wonderful. This lemon sour cream pound cake is one of my all-time favorite things. A dense, flavorful, buttery cake, dripping with a lemony glaze that’s truly unforgettable.
Pound Cake Ratio
The name “pound cake” is a nod to the original cake recipe that called for equal parts butter, flour, sugar and eggs. Many pound cake recipes you’ll find still follow this classic ratio. But modern recipes have scaled down the quantities making them more manageable size-wise. Along with downsizing, came diverse, regional variations giving pounds cakes their own distinct style, texture and taste throughout the world.
Traditional pounds cakes were made without leaveners, instead air was “whipped” into the cake before baking. But things changed in the 1900s when artificial leaveners, such as baking soda and baking powder, began being added. Leaveners drastically reduced the density of pound cakes creating a fluffier and more delicate crumb.
Soon after flavoring agents such as vanilla and almond extracts, and dried fruits, such as currants and cranberries became popular. Americans were the ones who began incorporating sour cream yielding an even moister cake, with a slight tangy flavor. I have a go-to ricotta pound cake, I serve with fresh betters and whipped cream, that’s a family favorite. But this lemon sour cream pound cake is our latest obsession.
Pound Cake Around the Globe
Like Americans, the French are also pound cake fans, but they call it “quarts-quarts”or “four quarters”, as a play on the pound reference. In the Caribbean, rum is a popular ingredient as well as mashed bananas which is a popular dessert during the holiday season.
The Venezuelan and Colombian pound cake equivalent is called “ponque”. This popular version is a decadent wine-drenched cake with a cream and sugar coating. Similarly, the Mexican version, known as “panque”, but follows the traditional recipe of one pound each of butter, flour, sugar and eggs.
As far as an “easy” dessert comes, a pound cake, of any flavor, fits the bill. It’s also a wonderful solution when baking a layer cake is not in our wheelhouse. Served straight up, or with berries and whipped cream, the variation and accouterments are truly limitless.
Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake
- For the Pound Cake:
- 1 2/3 cups cake flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (optional)
- For the Glaze:
- 3/4 cup Confectioners' sugar
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Step 1 Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Line a 9×4 loaf pan with parchment paper. Lightly oil the parchments and set aside.
- Step 2 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a KitchenAid, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and and sour cream and beat on midim until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest and blend.
- Step 3 Next, add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Next, add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and the lemon juice.
- Step 4 In a small bowl add the flour, baking soda and salt, mix to blend. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions, beating just until mixed. Do not over beat.
- Step 5 Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter to flatten and release any air bubbles. Place in the oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until golden and cracked on top and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the top is coloring too fast, cover it lightly with a piece of aluminum foil.
- Step 6 Allow the pound cake to cool for 10-15, and then remove from the pan to finish cooling. Cool completely before glazing.
- Step 7 For the glaze, In a small bowl mix the confectioners’ sugar and juice and until smooth. Put the cake on a wire rack with a piece of parchment underneath it. Slowly pour the glaze along the center of the cake letting it slide to the sides. Slice and serve.