Julia Child's Lemon Pound Cake

I know rolling off  Thanksgiving is NO time to be making desserts, but then I think, "CHRISTMAS parties," and almost all of us need an easy recipe for those. This one pulls together SUPER fast so long as you remember to grab the ingredients in advance (cake flour and heavy cream aren't always at my fingertips) AND remember to bring the ingredients to room temperature. Here's what you need for the cake:

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Lemons
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted then brought to room temperature

Note: if you are making the optional topping at the bottom of the recipe you'll also need:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Position oven rack into the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Finely zest the lemon. Use 3 lemons for the cake and zest 1 additional lemon for the topping IF you're using.  Set aside.Butter (or spray) a 9x5 loaf pan and coat with flour. Also set aside.In a large bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, and salt. Whisk for only a minute.  The mixture should not thicken.Whisk in the lemon zest.Put flour and baking soda in a sifter and gradually incorporate into the mixture.  Begin by sifting about 1/3 of the mixture on top of the eggs and lightly stir. Do NOT beat.

Stir then repeat with another third of the flour. Stir again and repeat.

Switch over to a rubber spatula and stir in the heavy cream.Add butter by gently folding into the mixture.After mixing, pour into the prepared pan.  The batter will naturally level. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven.  Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes in pan before removing then let it cool completely on a rack.

Of course, I can't leave Julia's recipe alone because I'm a glutton for sweets, so I add a sticky lemon topping. If you're serving the cake with ice cream or don't share my sweet tooth, this is ENTIRELY optional.

Gather your topping ingredients - powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.Whisk together and then lick the whisk when you're finished. (also optional, but the calories don't count, so go for it!)

Using a teaspoon, drizzle the lemon goodness on top. NOTE - the loaf MUST be completely cool when you do this, otherwise the mixture will seep into the cake and it won't look great.  You wouldn't want that!Stand back and admire your work.Using a serrated knife, serve by cutting two thin slices per plate. If you want to serve the cake warm, like all pound cake it's sturdy enough to take a light toasting.


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