Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lemon pound cake

It's been a really long time since my last post! There are lots of things that have been going on in the kitchen since my Halloween candy post, but I've been keeping them all to myself. Well, how about a recipe for lemon pound cake with some very lemony glaze? I have to tell you, it's not exactly quick to make. It requires some slightly annoying prep (pan-flouring, flour-sifting, lemon-zesting), and takes a lot of time in the oven. But even though that stuff might seem a little fussy, the difficulty-to-impressiveness ratio still comes out in your favor. It's zippy from all the citrus, and the glaze gives the outside of the cake a crunchy coat. Kind of like those really sour English lemon drops in cake form. I'm starting to think every cake should have a glaze. Here's the (very step-by-step) recipe, because I want you and the people you love to eat this cake.

(PS I think that paragraph can be summed up as, "cake cake cake cake cakety-cake cake cake! And glaze.")

2 lemons
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks margarine
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup soy yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup non-dairy milk
2/3 cup more sugar (for the glaze)

1. Dry Ingredients
First, you'll need 3 cups of sifted all-purpose flour. If you've never done that before, it's easy, and there's a first time for everything. Here's all you do: Sift about 4 cups of all purpose flour into a large, dry mixing bowl. Now measure 3 cups of that sifted flour into a different mixing bowl. Sift in 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 3/4 tsp. salt. (The leftover flour that you sifted can get added right back into your flour canister.)

At this point, you'll also want to grate the peel of two lemons. Make sure you wash your lemons first! I use the finest side of a four-sided grater, and to grate onto a flexible cutting board, since grating into a bowl can be kind of wobbly. You want to get as much of the yellow outside zest as possible, but try to not get too much of the bitter white pith that's just under the skin.

2. Baking Pan
Grease (I use cooking spray) an 11-cup tube/bundt pan. If you don't have one of those, or if you like your pound cake loaf-y, grease 2 8" loaf pans. Dust the oiled pans with vegan breadcrumbs (NOT the seasoned kind!!! Blech. And check the ingredients for milk products.) If the only vegan bread crumbs you can get your hands on are panko, you'll want to crush/grind them up first. You can do that with a blender, food processor, mortar & pestle, or ziploc bag & rolling pin. Tap any excess crumbs into the trash, you only want a very fine coating.

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

3. The Fun Part: Cake Batter
Use an electric mixer or fork to cream 2 sticks (that's 1 cup/ 1/2 lb.) vegan margarine. If you use something salty like Earth Balance, you should omit the salt from the dry ingredients.
Once the margarine is soft, add in 2 cups of sugar, and beat until well incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl so that everything gets mixed evenly. It should look pale yellow, fluffy, and smooth. Beat in the 1/2 cup soy yogurt, vanilla, and lemon zest.

Now turn your beater down to low, and add in about half of the flour mixture. Once that's almost all mixed in, add 1/2 of the milk and stir until incorporated. Now add the other half of the flour, and finish with the rest of the milk. Mix just until everything's smoothly incorporated, because overmixing will make your cake tough.

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan(s) and bake for about an hour and ten minutes for a bundt, or 40 minutes for a loaf. Check your cake by poking it with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, its ready to come out of the oven! If not, give it another five minutes and test again.

Remove your cake from the oven and let it sit for five minutes in the cake pan while you prepare the glaze:
Juice the lemons and strain out the seeds. How much juice do you have? You only need 1/3-1/2 cup of the juice for this glaze, so put the rest in your seltzer or in some salad dressing or something. Add 2/3 cup of sugar and stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved. (It doesn't have to be perfect.)

Now invert your cake onto a wire cooling rack and brush or spoon glaze all over the warm cake. It will be messy, so put some foil under the cooling rack to catch the drips.

Let that sit for a few hours until cool, and serve to your friends and family, who will adore you forever. My sisters describe it as "nom nom nom," if that gives you an idea