Saturday, March 31, 2012
The other day, when I was having tea at a café, I noted how quite a number of customers opted for a slice of orange pound cake to go with their drinks. It was something like S$4 or S$5 for a really thin slice, which left me aghast.
Mentally, I was calculating the cost of butter, sugar and oranges, and the number of cake loaves that amount of money would yield. Yeah, that's what home baking does to you ... well, to me, at least! I balk at paying for anything I can easily make in my own kitchen, which means I almost always order food that I can't make or take too much effort. For the record, I got myself a big, fat almond croissant to go with my tea. Hee hee!
Then I realised, flashback to 3 years ago, when I hadn't yet picked up baking, I would be one of those people paying through my nose for that pathetic slice of pound cake. Bleah!
BUT, that was then, and this is now. Bake my own? Piece of cake (pun totally intended)! ;) Actually, anyone can bake this easy peasy Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake. I think it's no secret that I prefer my cakes simple and no-frills, and this recipe is no exception. For a pound cake, it's actually rather light and you can up the citrusy flavour by adding more zest. And for S$4 or $5, you'll definitely get more than one slice! Sorry, couldn't resist. ;)
(adapted very slightly from Fine Cooking)
- 1 1/2 cups (170g) all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, slightly soft
- 1 cup (225g) sugar*
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (approx. 120ml) buttermilk**
- Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped or grated
* Note to my health-conscious, less sweet-toothed readers: I know that is an enormous amount of sugar, so feel free to reduce to your liking. If I remember correctly, I used 170-180g.
** No buttermilk? No problem. Just pour out the said amount of milk in a cup, then add 1/2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar and let it stand for 5mins.
1. Heat the oven to 325°C (160°C). Spray a loaf pan that’s about 8x5x3 inches with a nonstick coating.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until it’s very pale and little tails have formed.
3. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat well until slightly fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until blended before adding the next.
4. With the mixer on low, add about one-third of the flour and mix until almost combined; then add half the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of flour, and then the last half of the buttermilk, ending with the last third of the flour. Just before all the flour is incorporated, switch from the mixer to a stiff rubber spatula, add the lemon zest, and slowly stir to blend in the flour and zest, taking care to scrape the bowl’s bottom and sides.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it when inserted in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool before slicing.