TwD: Baking Lemon Pound Cake with Julia

For the longest time, I never understood the need for citrus zest in baking recipes. My thought was always, “Why zest when there’s a chance I’ll zest too far and hit the bitter pith?” To quote Alton Brown, “Not good eats.” I usually just substituted in fresh lemon juice to be on the safe side. However, for this simple lemon pound cake, I wanted to try my hand at zesting, just to see how it went. I was concerned because I still don’t own a proper zester or microplane. (I was scared of buying either because of the zealous comments debate that occurred here.) And, I still wasn’t sure about when to stop before reaching the pith. But, I forged ahead regardless with my trusty fine cheese grater I save for grating Gruyere.

I’m happy to report that now I’m a lemon zest convert! I love how so little zest produced such great lemony flavor throughout this moist pound cake. My baby nieces really enjoyed this cake as well, especially when I cut out heart-shaped pieces for them. (Though someone, Codename: Bacon Monster, couldn’t wait long enough until I finished photographing these three slices!) I even followed an Ina Garten technique and garnished the cake slice with a twisted piece of lemon, to indicate the lemony flavor. (My sister, Codename: DSN Engineer, still doesn’t understand why anyone would do that and asked, “What’s that lemon for?”)

To view the recipe for lemon pound cake from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking with Julia” cookbook, check out this week’s host pages: Truc of Treats or Michelle of The Beauty of Life.

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89 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hotlyspiced
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 06:39:34

    That’s a very delicious looking cake. I’m sure it’s the sort of cake where after eating a slice, you just reach out and cut another piece xx

  2. Ms Jelena
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 06:40:29

    YUM!! That is one very delicious looking cake!! xx

  3. TrafficDiva
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 06:53:22

    I LOVE pound cake!! Not only is it a simple cake, but ohhhh so good! Nothing beats a slice of Lemon pound cake and a glass of milk! Yummmmmmm! Looks fantastic, Yummy…you can feel free to drop off some cake too..haha!

  4. Cher
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 07:04:32

    Very lovely :-)
    And I don’t care what anyone says, I love my microplane for zesting… I just try to stick to organic lemons if I am going to use them for their zest (and I still give them a good scrub)

  5. Every Book and Cranny
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 07:11:38

    I used to leave out lemon zest too – only it was because I was too cheap to buy a microplane or some other zester. Then someone gave me one as a gift and oh. my. gosh. what had I been thinking?!? Lemon zest makes all the difference! Who knew?

  6. mykitchenstories
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 07:32:51

    Your cake looks lovely. I am not sure how you can live without either zester or citrus zest!

    http://www.mykitchenstories.com.au

  7. Garden Correspondent
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 08:01:34

    That cake looks lovely (especially with that lovely lemon twist). I’m firmly in the micro-planet camp. It turned me into a zest maniac (because I was always out off by having to avoid pith).

  8. Lisa(@LisaNutrition)
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 08:08:16

    This looks great! Lemon zest is a great addition!

  9. RebeccaSubbiah RD (@chowandchatter)
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 08:19:13

    looks great and love the little fingers

  10. chefconnie
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 08:32:43

    I love to zest. Get yourself a micro plane girl. Really…I have several. Love lemon pound cake.

  11. Mary Hirsch
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 08:36:48

    Oh, the indignities of “family”, right? But, so much fun and pleasure, right? While making this cake, I tossed two rather lame zesters in the trash. Borrowed to finish the recipe and then purchased new. Last night I zested 5 pounds of lemons – two friends and I are making limoncello – stay tuned. I loved this cake. Healthy, too.

  12. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 09:06:21

    This looks beautiful, fresh and simple. There’s just something about lemon…

  13. judy
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 09:17:21

    Lemon zest is your friend, especially in Lemon Loaf Cake. IMHO you can’t have too much. Love your photo.

  14. rondamkisner
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 09:24:11

    I love citrus zest. I use my microplane all the time. I agree with Cher though, you need to get organic.

  15. Ei
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 09:38:23

    Love the little fingers caught in the act! Yeah, zest is awesome. My name’s Eileen and I’m a zest-aholic. I seem to put it in everything, even if the recipe only wants lemon juice.

  16. maha
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 10:00:57

    Wow looks wonderful and delicious cake.
    maha

  17. thekalechronicles
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 11:15:43

    Your pound cake is beautiful, the slices so thin! I enjoyed reading the microplane/zester controversy and I say get a microplane. Buy it at the hardware store where it is cheap. I use mine everyday. I use it to grate frozen ginger. I use it to zest citrus. I use it to grate hard cheese (much easier for that than anything else I have ever used). The reader who complained about grating wax was hilarious: you can wash wax off with dishwashing detergent and water — rinse, dry, and you have sparkling, tasty zest. It is true that if what you really want is long shreds of peel you can use a zester, but you can also use a peeler and scrape the pith off with the tip of a knife and then cut the peel in any shape you like.

  18. forgottenbeast
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 11:22:26

    Gotta admit–I’d probably assume I was supposed to do something with the lemon, too. Although–fresh lemon squeezed on lemon cake? That wouldn’t be so bad! Glad you overcame your fear of the zest–I love zest! And my zester. Zesters are amazing–garlic, citrus zest, frozen ginger (as mentioned above), and whole nutmeg all feature in most of my meals simply as a reason to use the zester! Oh, and because they’re delicious seasonings, too :)

  19. Healthiful Balance
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 12:46:56

    This lemon pound cake looks great! I’ve never made pound cake before but I think I should! :)

  20. Juliana
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 14:28:50

    I have not had pound cake for a long time…and I totally would enjoy the lemon one. Looks so tasty…I just need a cup of coffee to go with it :)
    Thanks for this post and hope you are having a great week!

  21. Heather
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 14:41:22

    Nicely done – and congrats on the sardine rillettes (I skipped that one)

  22. Life is Full
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 14:57:26

    I would love a slice of this! :)

  23. vianneyrodriguez
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 15:19:31

    I was the same way, always afraid fo the bitter pith… glad you decided to give it a try, it adds suchs great flavor.

  24. Choc Chip Uru
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 15:21:26

    Your pound cake is exquisite my friend – I can almost smell the lemony goodness from here :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  25. mireia
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 15:22:58

    I’m glad you enjoyed it too, it looks great!

  26. Norma Chang
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 15:34:31

    Your food photos are always so lovely, I am learning a lot from you, thanks.

  27. Andrea
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 15:42:41

    This looks great! Time to break out Baking Again!

  28. Anna @ the shady pine
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 16:21:40

    This is my idea of a perfect cake…no adornment, just a great cake to have with a steaming mug of coffee!

  29. Food,Photography & France
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 16:25:09

    Good cake, good eats:)

  30. chayathecomfycook@yahoo.com
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 16:44:32

    I think zest makes the difference. I remember how Dorie told us to rub the sugar and zest together and it does make it more powerful. You can buy inexpensive zesters, these days. I am glad, I did finally buy one.

  31. Kristin
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 16:55:46

    So, one serving is a whole cake right? Ha!

  32. Purely.. Kay
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:01:17

    I love my moms homemade pund cake from scratch.. but I think she will love this recipe. Which is why I will be saving this post :)

  33. kitchen flavours
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:13:45

    Your cakes looks good! I love anything citrus, especially lemons!

  34. bitsandbreadcrumbs
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:26:48

    Your pound cake looks sooooo good. That first photo is especially nicely styled!

  35. Kathy
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:32:19

    Simply beautiful!! Love your photos, too! My kitchen wouldn’t be complete without my microplane. I have even made it a part of any shower gift I buy!

  36. Reem | Simply Reem
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:58:49

    Thats a beautiful looking cake…
    I have a weakness for pound cake and lemon one… Yumm…
    B/W microplane is my life line in my kitchen….

  37. Elaine
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 18:06:37

    Your lemon loaf slice looks beautiful with that curled lemon slice on top! I’m glad you took this opportunity to put a little zest in your cake. It is especially good when you infuse the sugar with the zest first (by mushing the zest and sugar together with your fingers). This makes it taste even better. I also could not zest citus or grate nutmeg without my microplane. :)

  38. Simply Life
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 18:44:52

    love the idea of adding the fresh flavors of lemon to pound cake!

  39. Asmita (@FoodieAsmita)
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 19:11:41

    Lovely lemon pound cake! I would love a big, fat slice of that with a cup of hot “chai”.

  40. Gracie ~ Food Fascination
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 19:15:02

    Vey nice. Looks yummy!

  41. heathersbytes
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 19:19:25

    Beautiful loaf! And I’m a microplane convert myself :D

  42. The Double Trouble Kitchen
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 20:02:16

    I am cracking up over the codenames. Oh, and I love my Microplaner. Good job!

  43. gingerskeeper
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 20:03:04

    Looks great! Your cake rose a lot more than mine did. I love the lemon slices.

  44. mary
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 20:22:36

    LOVE lemon pound cake – this looks wonderful!
    Mary x

  45. guineapigfood
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 20:53:25

    Great pics! I vote for a microplane (not that you asked), but make sure it’s nice and sharp – some of the less expensive ones are too dull to zest citrus or grate ginger, but somehow sharp enough to ruin nails and scrape knuckles.

  46. Baking is my Zen
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 21:57:49

    Love the food styling with the lemon twist…hmmm…going to hold on to that idea :)

    ~ Carmen
    http://bakingismyzen.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/twd-baking-with-julia-lemon-loaf cake/

  47. Necessity is the Mother of Invention
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 22:38:54

    Get a zester or microplane, or whatever you like to call them, or two! I love them, just be careful about slicing the tips of your fingers. Blood in the zest does not taste good, and I’ve learned from experience.

  48. ohfishiee
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 23:58:08

    the lemon zest sounds good for the cake :) but i’d prefer more buttery taste in it

    Latest: The Healthy Bar

  49. peachkins
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 01:36:44

    I love pairing lemon cake with my coffee!

  50. samology
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 01:41:54

    ooh. Your lemon pound cake looks very soft and decadent! That’s a great trick with the twisted slice of lemon. Food styling is always so fun and we get to be creative with our pictures! :) Yeah, I never really tried zesting before until recently and it wasn’t as intimidating or time-consuming as I thought it would be!

  51. Baker Street (@bakerstreet29)
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 03:08:34

    Gorgeous presentation I say! I love pound cake and this one looks just perfect.

  52. sanyaliving
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 06:34:03

    It really was such a nice and simple cake, your slices look delicious!

  53. andi
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 07:14:24

    Hi This lemon poundcake looks delish…..glad you are zesting….. andi

  54. Liz Berg (@ThatSkinnyChick)
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 07:54:10

    Way to go out of your comfort zone! And so happy this was enjoyed by you and your nieces…your slices look wonderful~

  55. suzisoutlook
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 08:01:34

    I love lemon zet also really adds a unique a tasty twist. I bet this cake was delish. Perfect.

  56. alwaysaddmorebutter
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 08:08:33

    Your lemon loaf looks great & I have to add my two cents & say I’m very pro-Microplane. I manage a kitchen & home store and they are one of our best-selling & most useful items. They even make a citrus tool now that has the rasp for fine zesting plus two different sized channel knives for the larger pieces of decorative zest called for in some recipes. I promise you will love it!

  57. Sarah, Maison Cupcake
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 08:14:34

    I can almost smell the lemon looking at it. Zesting citrus is one of my most loathed jobs in the kitchen though!!

  58. Three-Cookies
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 08:38:11

    Looks like you got the photo just in time before those hands grabbed a slice, or all:)
    I need to get into this zesting business – never tried it

  59. Louanne Bertrand
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 09:03:46

    I love pound cake, and lemon pound cake…WOW! Pinned it!

  60. Inger Wilkerson
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 09:04:24

    I did break down and buy a microplane this year. I am very sensitive to bitter flavors and getting only the very best of the peel has improved my attitude toward lemon dishes enormously. Beautiful cake!

  61. April Harris (@apriljharris)
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 09:27:05

    What a gorgeous lemon poundcake! It looks so delicious!

  62. Ameena
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 10:01:10

    I’m so with you on the lemon zest…I never understood what the purpose was! But then my mom made some scones and I totally got it! They were divine.

    This looks fantastic!

  63. Bam's Kitchen
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 10:17:43

    Lemony lemon cakes are my weak spot. I would never be able to stop just at one piece. I also need to purchase a proper zester for my citrus fruits.

  64. Dara
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 10:27:19

    This is awesome. I am also a little wary of zest – but you must admit it really brings the intensity of flavor. I also love the twisted lemon slice! Well done.

  65. Helene (@MasalaHerb)
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 11:26:16

    lemon pound cake? How much I wished you were my neighbore. sigh

  66. Krissy
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 11:33:12

    Isn’t it fun to have kiddies around to share your baking skills? I love what the lemon slice did for your photos…nice touch. Besides the great flavor that comes from the oils in the zest, I love how pretty the zest is in baked goods and especially in frostings. Glad you are now a zesting convert.

  67. Maureen (@OrgasmicChef)
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 11:34:43

    Is there anything better than a cup of tea and a piece of this cake? I think not.

  68. Erin E
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 11:45:02

    Your cake looks great, glad that you all enjoyed it! I love the twist of lemon.

  69. jora
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 13:36:42

    Very funny. I’ve always thought that garnishing with one of the ingredients was one of Ina’s best ideas. I just wish I wasn’t so lazy about garnishes.

  70. Stefanie
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 13:40:03

    Looks wonderful! Lemon pound cake sounds soo good right now! And I’m so glad you’ve come around to zest! It’s a wonderful addition to any baked good.

  71. Yudith @ Blissfully Delicious
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 21:23:28

    Oh my goodness, I was seriously thinking about making lemon pound cake! Yours looks incredible. I need to bake one soon!!

  72. LV Davis (@FoodfashinFlow)
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 21:41:15

    This looks so good! I love lemon cake. It is so refreshing!

  73. Gracie ~ Food Fascination
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 22:03:26

    Great lemon loaf! I’m a zest addict too!!!

  74. cooking-varieties (wan)
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 02:22:59

    hi yummy chunklet, your pound cake looks delicious and soft. i like the way you managed to slice the lemon very thinly and produced that translucent effect in your decor. have a nice day

  75. muppy
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 03:55:23

    welcome to the zesty side ;) i love it too!

  76. Jasline
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 10:48:50

    I love pound cake and lemon, I’m sure this cake is delicious!

  77. sara
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 11:58:19

    Oh this looks amazing! Lemon cake is one of my favorite ‘comfort food’ desserts, so tasty! :)

    Hooray for lemon zest!

  78. Holly
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 11:59:19

    Mmmm… lemon pound cake. One of my very favorite cakes! :)

  79. cookingjulia
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 12:13:20

    “Zesting” can be tricky, but sooo worth it!

  80. betsy
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 20:14:34

    Those lemon twists are a nice touch. I wish you’d shared some pictures of the heart-shaped slices. Those sound cute. I think I told you before, but I definitely think you need to add a microplane to your kitchen arsenal. I use it for zesting, grating ginger, minced garlic, and many other things. Go for it. You won’t be sorry.

  81. isthisakeeper
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 21:06:41

    I love your twisted lemon!!

  82. Just A Smidgen
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 22:40:04

    I love my zester.. it’s makes quick work of a job I used to dread and shred knuckles over:) This looks like the perfect cake to add zest to:)

  83. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 23:41:37

    Hehee glad you are now believer in citrus zest in sweets! Oh I love them even extra is okay with me as long as it has good balance! Your lemon pound cake made me hungry and I just had dinner too. Love your cake. Lemon poundcake is probalby my top 3 favorite poundcake!

  84. Amy (Savory Moments)
    Apr 22, 2012 @ 11:52:47

    Your cake looks delicious. The lemon must lighten up the pound cake perfectly!

  85. Trice
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 11:02:14

    This pound cake looks perfect!

  86. sheof108names
    May 02, 2012 @ 08:35:37

    My kind of cake – looks lovely. Great read too :)

  87. sally
    May 02, 2012 @ 17:07:55

    I love sweet treats made with citrus.

  88. Meenakshi
    May 11, 2012 @ 13:29:56

    Your pound cake looks delicious! And I am with you on the zest- a little zest can go a long way…adds such a lovely fragrance too!

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