Meyer lemon - Lavender Pound Cake
with lemon glaze and sliced almonds
Back in college, I was told by one of my favorite people in the world that this lemon-lavender pound cake was hands-down the best baked good I made, out of a multitude of choices ranging from elaborate fruit tarts to multi-layer cakes. Since then, it's been my go-to cake for everything, from gift-giving to dessert for breakfast to days when I need a slice of therapy. It's the cake I turn to when I want to impress. I've even made mini petit four versions of it for this event, complete with hand-sugared lilac flowers.
Over the years, I've gone through several variants of the cake, finally arriving at what I think is the winning recipe. This cake started out as a semi-dry teacake meant for enjoying over a cup of darkly-brewed English tea with just a dash of cream. While I still like that version, I've since moved on to a pound-cake base, resulting in an extra moist cake that doesn't even require tea to enjoy (though it still goes excellently with tea!).
Then, a few years ago, I had a lemon pound cake home-baked in France and flown in to a conference by a French professor. That lemon pound cake had this super lemon sugar glaze on top that contributed an added dimension of lemon goodness. Though I don't remember in the slightest what the professor's talk was about, I've since adopted the lemon glaze for my pound cake, for that extra zing of flavor.
I must say that this cake indeed has a long history for me (rather, almost as long as I've been baking seriously). I have to give credit to my across-the-street neighbor who gave me the first version of this recipe (and, unrelatedly, who makes some of the best spaghetti sauce I've ever tasted).
The lavender flowers I also dried myself, having flown them home from the Santa Monica Farmer's Market when I visited my best friend this past July (yes, going through security was... interesting, especially when they swabbed the salmon-chive spread I'd brought with me from Joan's on Third for explosive residue). There's just enough lavender in this recipe to add the perfect flowery taste without being overwhelming, and the lemons and lavender are just such a great pair together. I can literally devour a whole loaf of this myself in one sitting (consider yourself warned!) if I'm not careful.
Anyways, I hope that the person I made this for this past weekend enjoyed it immensely and understands how special they are to have received it! :-D.
Read on for recipe...
Lemon-Lavender Pound Cakemakes 2 loaves
1/3 cup milk
6 large eggs
1 1/2 Tbspn fresh lemon juice
1 Tbspn vanilla
3 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
2 Tbspn freshly grated lemon zest
1 2/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup dried lavender flowers
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour the sides and bottoms of two loaf pans. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine milk, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
3. In the bowl of a mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and freshly grated lemon zest. Mix to combine.
4. Add the softened butter to the flour mixture. Cream for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
5. Gradually add the milk mixture in 2-3 parts, mixing thoroughly for about 30 seconds to 1 minute before each addition.
6. Mix in lavender flowers until evenly distributed through the batter. Be careful not to overmix.
7. Divide the batter into the two prepared loaf pans.
8. Bake in oven for ~30-35 minutes. When the tops are about to crack, score the tops in one line with a sharp, oiled knife to create an even crack. Then, place an oiled piece of foil on top of the cakes, oil side down. Continue to bake for 25-30 minutes (for a total baking time of ~55-60 minutes).
9. When a toothpick removed from the center of the cake comes out clean, the cakes are done. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a rack before turning the cakes out. Let cool completely.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
sliced almonds, optional
1. Mix together the powdered sugar and the lemon juice.
2. Add in the lemon zest. Mix until combined.
3. Pour the glaze over the pound cakes.
4. Immediately top with a sprinkling of sliced almonds, if using. Let dry.