Remember Tuesdays with Dorie? That was a little group I joined, only I was never acknowledged as a member, except to be told I was one of several who were not following “the rules” and so could anticipate never being the guest host. Only, there was no chance of that anyway? Yeah, that group. I’ve mentioned before that the group, in a word – SUCKED, but the book used by the group, a Dorie Greenspan book, admittedly does not suck. In fact, it’s pretty amazing. Amazing in the sense that you can make just about anything from this book (except the sweet potato biscuits – YUCK) and impress not only your friends and guests but even yourself. I did that yesterday when I made the Vanilla Bean Pound cCke with Lemon. It’s dense, yet light, soft, yet has a mouth feel that lasts and lasts, it’s sweet and tart, it’s amazing. And maybe the best part of all – the recipe makes 2 loaves!
Lemon Drenched Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
adapted from Dorie Greenspan
2 2/3 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
2/3 cups heavy cream
zest of two lemons, finely grated
15 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
juice of two lemons
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two loaf pans.
Place the pans on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular sheets stacked one on top of the other.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Combine sugar and the lemon zest.
Add the vanilla bean seeds and work them into the sugar. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it later, after you have added the eggs)
Add the eggs to the sugar, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated.
Add the extract (if using), then the heavy cream and melted butter.
Gently stir in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions; the batter will be smooth and thick.
Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing the top.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
When the cakes test done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them and turning them right side up on the rack.
Place the rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper and, using a thin skewer, cake tester or thin-bladed sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes.
Combine water, sugar and lemon juice, stirring until all of sugar is dissolved.
Brush the poked cakes all over with the syrup (work slowly so that the cakes soak it up).
Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.
Try not to eat both cakes in one sitting. I dare you.