Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake via Sift & Whisk

If you take a normal piece of produce, slap a fun color in front of the name, and display it prominently in the grocery store aisle, I will chuck it in my shopping cart. Purple potatoes, golden beets, blood oranges… do you know how many colors of carrots there are? I am a child.

Grocery store marketing experts are definitely targeting me. I am the ideal buyer. They probably have a picture of my face in every cubicle, as a reminder, a motivational tool for their employees. If there is a National Lemon Association, they must have had a board meeting and said, “You know what would get Maria to buy more lemons? If we put these stripey ones in a bag and call them Pink Lemons.”

Lemon Pound Cake via Sift & Whisk

And that’s exactly what they did. I didn’t even bother to do a quick search on my phone about them. No, if the bag says they’re pink, then dammit they’re pink. Ex-cit-ing!

The National Lemon Association is clearly stretching with these adjectives. I’d say the lemons are a light orange at best. Liars.

Lemon Pound Cake via Sift & Whisk

Nevertheless, I dig the whimsical circus-like stripes on the rinds, and they worked totally fine for this lemon pound cake I made in honor of my mom’s birthday. I candied some slices of the remaining lemons to garnish the top, but the rinds of these are still pretty darn hard, so I would recommend sticking to regular lemons or, better yet, Meyer lemons if you can find them.

Lemon Pound Cake via Sift & Whisk

This cake is adapted from a Cooking Light cookbook I stole from my mom years ago. I have always held it up as my favorite pound cake recipe, but I honestly hadn’t made it in two or three years. I, of course, forwent the low-fat sour cream, margarine (eww), and egg substitute. Basically, I do the opposite of what Cooking Light does.

Lemon Pound Cake via Sift & Whisk

I did, however, stick with egg whites as opposed to whole eggs, because I had quite a few whites leftover from when I made Crack Pie a couple weeks ago. Obviously, all the fat is in the yolk of the egg, so this cake is not as dreamily moist as a whole-egg pound cake, but it’s still pretty darn good. And hey, I just shaved off like 40 calories per slice. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Seriously, though, there’s more than 3 cups of sugar in this. You aren’t getting off that easy.

Lemon Pound Cake via Sift & Whisk

Lemon Pound Cake
For the candied lemon slices
  1. 2-3 small lemons, cut into thin slices*
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
For the cake
  1. 4¼ cups (510 grams) all-purpose flour
  2. ¼ teaspoon salt
  3. 1½ cups (180 grams) sour cream
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  6. ¾ cups (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  7. 7 egg whites
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 1 tablespoon lemon zest
For the glaze
  1. 2¾ cups (330 grams) confectioners' sugar
  2. ¼ cups fresh lemon juice
For the candied lemons
  1. Fill a saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath and set aside. When water is bowling, add lemon slices and boil for about 1 minute, until they soften slightly. Transfer to the ice bath.
  2. Empty the saucepan and refill with 1 cup water and 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. When sugar has dissolved, add lemon slices, arranging in a single layer (the slices will float). When the syrup is simmering, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and let cool slightly in the syrup.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer lemon slices to a wire rack to dry.
For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat two 9x5-inch loaf pans with Cake Magic or nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. In a small mixing bowl, mix together sour cream and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together sugar and butter for about 5 minutes. Gradually add egg whites and beat until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add flour and sour cream mixtures alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture. When the last of the flour has been added, mix in vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, stirring a few times by hand to ensure that everything is evenly mixed. Divide batter evenly between your two prepared loaf pans. Tap each pan sharply against the countertop once to remove any air bubbles.
  6. Place pans on the center rack of the oven and bake for about 1 hour and 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely on the wire rack.
For the glaze
  1. Whisk together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
To assemble
  1. Place a piece of parchment paper under the wire rack where the cakes have cooled. Drizzle the tops of each cake with glaze, using a rubber or offset spatula to spread it over the surface and allowing the glaze to drip down the sides of the cake. Let the glaze set for 10-15 minutes. Arrange candied lemon slices on the top of each cake.
  1. *Meyer lemons work best, because they have thinner skin than regular lemons, but regular lemons will also work.
  2. Design of the cake inspired by TREATS.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
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  • http://theviewfromthegreatisland.blogspot.com/ theviewfromGreatIsland

    Oh I am a total sucker for any food that comes in a strange color, and these lemons have my name written all OVER them!

  • Lucy Lin

    Just made this recipe last night and I was sorely disappointed. 1/4 cup salt is WAY too much — the resulting cake is too salty and imbalanced. Also, 1 tbsp lemon zest is insufficient — I used 3 tbsps and still couldn’t taste any lemon in the cake; the lemon flavor only comes from the icing.

    • http://www.siftandwhisk.com/ Maria @ Sift & Whisk

      Lucy, I am TERRIBLY sorry. It was a typo on my part and should have been 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Obviously 1/4 cup of salt would make any cake way too salty and probably drown out the lemon, too.

      As for lemon taste, some people prefer more lemon flavor, so you can bump up the zest or even add lemon extract if it’s still not enough. Again, please accept my sincerest apologies! I have fixed the salt error and do hope you will try it again.