Yield
1 loaf
Time
15 minutes prep, 50 minutes cooking, 1 hour 5 minutes total

This recipe from master baker Norman Love of the Ritz-Carlton brings us this rich, dense pound cake that gets its tang from lemon peel. Easy to make, it's a delightful addition to the holiday buffet and also great for gift giving.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grated zest of 3 large lemons
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature.
Instructions

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour, shaking out the excess. Working in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt for just a minute, until foamy and smoothly blended; the mixture should not thicken. Whisk in the grated zest.

2. Spoon the flour and baking powder into a sifter and sift about a third of the dry ingredients over the foamy egg mixture. Whisk the flour into the eggs, mixing lightly - there's no need to beat. Sift the flour over the eggs in two more additions and whisk only until everything is incorporated. Whisk the heavy cream into the mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently and quickly fold in the melted butter.

3. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan - it will level itself - and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center of the cake crowns and cracks and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake to a cooling rack to rest for 10 minutes before unmolding. Cool to room temperature right side up on a rack.

4. You can serve this cake as soon as it cools, although there are those who believe that a pound cake needs a day to ripen. Make a taste test for yourself. In any case, the cake should be sliced with a serrated knife and served in thin slices, a pair to a plate.

Storing: Once cooled, the cake should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. It will keep at room temperature for 3 or 4 days or, if double-wrapped, can be frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

From Baking with Julia by Julia Child.