Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Citrus Pound Cake

I spent my recent Sunday afternoon drinking in the fading sunshine... and baking a cake.  It wasn't the fancier variety of cake that may immediately come to mind.  But one equally special, all the same--and for all the right reasons.  Reasons like a beautiful, moist crumb, and wave upon wave of citrus infusion.  From zest and juice, to syrup and glaze, there was no mistaking the bright flavors and under notes that have made this cake a personal favorite for many years now.  I especially love it during the holidays when a little something extra special is the order of the day. And slice after decadent slice proves perfectly special.

Rather than go my more traditional route of lemon only (lemon pound cake is a wonder), I decided to mix things up a bit more and combine the flavors of grapefruit, orange and lemon.  Did I say this was a citrus pound cake?  And it's one of the most addictive desserts (or breakfasts, if you eat cake for breakfast.  I do.)  The absolute best part, however, is that it yields two cakes--one for savoring and one for sharing (or freezing until you're ready to indulge your sweet tooth all over again).

There's really not much left to say, other than you have to bake it.  And thank me later.

Happy Eating!

Citrus Pound Cake
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
4 large eggs, room temperature
Grated zest of one grapefruit, one orange and two lemons
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of citrus juice (combination of 1/4 cup each of grapefruit, orange and lemon), divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons citrus juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the citrus zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup citrus juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup citrus juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the citrus juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.  (Cook's Note: If freezing the cakes, don't apply glaze until you are ready to serve.) Enjoy!   

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten



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