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?”)