Science & Medicine

Lemon Pound Cake: A recipe for comfort

The Jane Frantz legendary creation — happiness in a single bowl.

One of my weaknesses is the inability to turn down Starbucks’ lemon pound cake. The sweet crumbly yellow creation with a thick white glaze. And so I turned to some of my culinary teachers, Sam Sifton and Melissa Clark and others to recreate this profoundly satisfying coffee companion. Over the years, with various refinements, I more or less did…but it took a lot of work, prep time and patience.

So when my friend and fellow traveler on this MPN path, Jane Frantz published her simple, quick, one bowl recipe, I tried it and never looked back. Here without further introduction is Jane’s  recipe in her own words.

“I like to eat my latest version, a citrus-scented cornmeal number, toasted and buttered for breakfast. And you can make it in one bowl.

First, heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a loaf pan. (Or grease and line it with parchment.)

Now, get out a big bowl, and add a cup or so of sugar. If you have an orange, lime or a lemon, grate its zest into the bowl. If you need a little aromatherapy, work the zest into the sugar with your fingers. This technique is supposed to infuse the citrus into the sugar. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure it is more effective than just whisking, but it smells amazing.

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl: 1/2 cup liquid fat (olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, whatever you’ve got; I used melted butter), 2 eggs, 1/2 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk or sour cream (or whole milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice) along with a dash of vanilla or almond extract (or brandy), if you like, and 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg. (You could skip this, but I love it).

Whisk in the dry ingredients in this order: 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, a teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 cup cornmeal. Once smooth whisk in 1 1/4 cups flour.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Let it (mostly) cool in the pan. Then slice off a thick piece, butter it and let yourself be soothed.”

Editor’s Note:  With a few tweaks this lemon pound cake could easily morph into cornbread, or corn muffins but I haven’t had the courage to deviate from this recipe so let us know if you try.


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