Of all the cakes I love to bake, I love pound cakes the most. This is why:
- They are generally fuss-free or "fussy-less".
- They provide a great way to clean up the pantry and the little ingredients I've collected but haven't used.(also a good excuse to make one)
- The loaf shape makes it acceptable for me to eat them at breakfast, lunch, tea and post dinner. They are also acceptable at snack time.
- And above all, I love it's sheer elegance that comes from its simplicity of flavors.
Just like my love for making my kitchen smell of cocoa and vanilla, I love, love the smell of fresh citrus fruits especially when I cut or squeeze them. The aromatic oils from the skin and the fresh juices are energizing and refreshing and definitely lift up my moods. It's one of my most favorite moments in the kitchen and seriously, it can't get any better than the zest of six lemons.
I stayed away from a traditional sweet lemon sugar glaze on the loaf because the honey gives the cake a delicious color and flavor as it caramelizes on the crust. I also added in some chia seeds to give the cake a texture and believe me, you won't be disappointed. Plus, there's a hint of spices in this pound cake courtesy the magic Asian 5-spice mix that takes this lemon cake to a whole new level. I really wanted to call my cake, "5 Spice Chia Honey Lemon Pound Cake" but that just seemed too long, so I cut it short. If you can't find 5-spice, you can leave it out completely and the cake will still be delicious.
This cake recipe went through a couple of trial and errors, till I had everything worked out. The first time I made this cake, I added way too much lemon juice and my cake didn't rise enough as the acid reacted with the baking powder and baking soda. I reduced the amount of lemon juice and increased the amount of lemon zest to keep the cake as lemony as possible. I would still recommend moving quickly as soon as you add the lemon juice to the batter as the chemical reaction between the acid and bicarbonate starts instantaneously. I adapted and modified the basic pound cake recipe from The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book
Have a great weekend, folks!
Note: You generally don't need to grease and line a baking pan, you can do one of the two, I prefer to do both as they aid in easy removal and transferring of the cake.
chia + honey lemon pound cake
yields: one 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf
1 1/2 cups (7 7/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder mix (optional)
1 cup (7 3/8 ounce) sugar
zest of 6 lemons, fresh
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey (use a good quality)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm (not hot)
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained
1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease and flour an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, line the pan with parchment paper and keep aside. Whisk the dry ingredients from the flour to the 5-spice powder mix. Sift the ingredients three times and keep aside.
2. Place the sugar and the lemon zest in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Toss the sugar and the zest to coat the zest completely.
3. Add the eggs to the mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment whisk the eggs for 3 minutes on medium-high speed until completely blended. You might need to scrape the bowl down a few times with a silicone spatula to bring the ingredients together. Add the honey and mix on medium-high speed until completely blended for about 1 - 1 1/2 minute.
3. Stir the butter to mix up any solids that might have settled to the bottom. Pour the melted butter from the side of the bowl and continue to mix the ingredients on medium high speed. Add the lemon extract and vanilla.
4. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients from step 1 to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed until completely mixed. Add the chia seeds and the rest of the dry ingredients and mix till no specks of flour can be seen. Add the lemon juice and quickly mix the ingredients. Immediately pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes. Rotate the cake halfway through the baking process. The cake is baked when the center of the cake is firm to touch and a skewer/knife when inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest in the loaf pan for 5 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.