Several years back, I used to travel up to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet with the Baker's Dozen, a like-minded group, open to anyone who loved to bake, which I was first introduced to while in culinary school in San Francisco. You never knew who you might meet or sit next to at a meeting- it could be a very famous cookbook author, or could be a secretary who just happened to be passionate about baking. Everyone was there to willingly share their baking expertise and experiences with each other.
One of the leaders of the group was baking teacher and cookbook author par excellence, Flo Braker. When I was starting out in catering, one of the caterers I worked for always spoke of Flo as being her favorite cooking teacher. And it's no wonder. She is blessed with the just about the sweetest demanor a person could possess, as well as being an exacting baker.
At one meeting, Flo was a featured speaker, and made this statement "Next to my family, I love baking more than anything." That moment stuck with me for years afterwards, because she had such a dreamy look in her eyes and loving quality in her voice when she said those words. She was so adorable.
Years later, I recounted the story to her. This is what she said, in response - "And I meant it, too."
This wonderful Lemon Pound Cake is adapted from Flo's Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe, originally printed in The Baker's Dozen Cookbook, a compilation of recipes from some of the group's more well known members - ah, and with a small entry, in the glossary notes, by yours truly, too.
Lemon Pound Cake
Adapted from Flo Braker's Sour Cream Pound Cake from The Baker's Dozen Cookbook
The butter, eggs and sour cream should all be at room temperature before adding tot he batter.
- 3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sift first, then spoon into the cup measure and sweep the top smooth with an offset spatula)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Boyajian Lemon Oil - Pure - 1 oz
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup sour cream
- Confectioner's sugar for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 14 cup fluted tube pan* and tap out the excess flour.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
- In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with teh paddle blade, beat the butter on medium speed until it is light in color, about 45 seconds. Add the sugar in a steady stream, stopping to scrape down the sides of theb owl when all the sugar is incorporated. Beat again until the mixture is very light in color, stopping occasionally to scrape down teh side of the bowl. The process should take 4- 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs in one at a time. If the mixture curdles at any point, increase the speed to high and beat until it is smooth. REturn the speed to medium to add the remaining eggs. Continue beating until the mixture is ivory colored. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla, lemon oil and vanilla extract.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low. In three additions, add the flour mixture alternating with two addtions of the sour cream. AFter each addtion, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat until smooth. Spread the batter evenly inot the prepared pan.
- Bake unitl the top springs back when pressed lightly and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about an hour and 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire colling rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the pan onto the rack and remove the cake from the pan. Cool completely. The cake can be stored, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days. Just before serving sift confectioner's sugar over the top.
* The orignal recipe specifies a 12 cup pan, but after making the cake twice and having the batter overflow in the oven, I have come to the conclusion that a 14 cup pan is needed. They are more difficult to find, so if you do not have one, use a 12 cup pan, filling it only two-thirds full, and bake one or two mini loaf cakes with the leftover batter. That's what I do- one to take to a party, and a couple leftover for me ;-)
Flo includes these notes- "The baking soda in this cake neutralizes the acid of the sour cream and produces some carbon dioxide that aids in leavening. Nonetheless, thorough creaming is a primary consideration, so beat the butter and sugar well to include aeration."