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.
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.
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.
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