The minute it gets chilly enough to turn the furnace back on, I want to warm the house up with the oven, and get baking. I particularly love pound cakes, for their dense, moist texture, adaptability, and a sturdiness that makes them ideal for packing into lunch boxes. I had an extra lemon rolling around in the fridge, so the first pound cake of the season was lemon.
I love that this is the sort of cake that requires no decoration, and can be nibbled by the thin slice while you do other things.
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream (light or regular, not fat free)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2-3/4 cup butter, softened
- Grated zest of 1 or 2 lemons (optional)
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, or 4 1/2 cups cake & pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Stir the baking soda into the sour cream and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a minute or so, until it’s fluffy and light. Add the lemon zest and sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.
- Stir together the flour and salt and stir a third of it by hand into the butter mixture. (A spatula is best for this – you can scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as you stir.) Add half the sour cream, then another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the sour cream and the rest of the flour, stirring just until the batter is combined.
- Pour the batter into a Bundt pan or two loaf pans that have been lined with parchment. Bake for an hour and a half, until the cake is golden and cracked on top. Let it cool in the pan for half an hour, then invert it onto a plate or wire rack to cool completely.
- Makes 1 cake or two loaves. Serve it in wedges plain or topped with fresh or thawed frozen berries in syrup.