Monday, May 24, 2010

Pound Cake for a Piano Recital

Yesterday I hosted a short recital featuring some of Ellen Johansen's hard-working and talented piano students. After a program of Kabalevsky, Bach, Burgmuller, and others, we enjoyed fudgy brownies, strawberries, and lemon pound cake (that's sparkling French lemonade in my new buckets, in case you are wondering). This particular pound cake (adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes), is one I turn to often in the summer, not only because its fresh, lemony flavor pairs well with berries, peaches, and other summer fruits, but because it starts out in a cold oven. The cake has plenty of time to rise to great heights and gain a beautiful golden crust while the oven gradually heats up. And skipping the pre-heating may does keep the kitchen cooler in the warmer months. Here is the recipe:

Cold Oven Pound Cake
Serves 10 to 12

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest.
3. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. When all of the flour has been incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 1 minutes.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Place the cake in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 325 degrees and bake without opening the oven door until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 65 to 75 minutes.
5. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, invert onto a wire rack, and cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar before slicing and serving.

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