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Taste Summer in this Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake

Imagine the ingredients for springtime dessert perfection all mixed together and baked in a fluted Bundt pan. Sound appealing? Well, here it is!

This recipe was inspired by a combination of two different cakes: First, my husband’s southern family recipe for sour cream pound cake – so over-the-top good that we selected it as our wedding cake. Plus, the yeast-leavened French savarin cake which is soaked with sweet syrup after baking in a tube pan. Marry the two cakes together and voila! The super-moist, rich, lemony pound cake recipe below was born.

You’ll taste sunshine in every lemon-spiked bite. First, there is fresh lemon juice and zest added to the sour cream pound cake. Then, after baking and still hot, the cake is bathed in simple lemon syrup, giving it extra lemon flavor and just the right amount of moisture to last for days. Finally, a lemon juice and zest icing crowns the cooled cake. Serve it with fresh berries and whipped cream to add an additional layer of special. 

My family of tell-it-like-it-is taste testers described this cake as: “just the right amount of lemon”, “fresh”, “perfectly-moist” and “lemony-tangy.” Also, I’ve witnessed it being enjoyed with a cup of coffee both at the beginning and at the end of the same day. Now that’s my kind of endorsement!    

Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake

Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream (light or regular)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 large lemons total for recipe)

1 packed tablespoon lemon zest

3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup butter, softened

6 large eggs

Lemon Syrup:

¼ cup water

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Icing:

1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon plus about 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 packed teaspoon lemon zest

Fresh berries, if desired

Whipped cream, if desired

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 10-inch diameter (12-cup) fluted tube pan with vegetable cooking spray and thoroughly dust with flour.

Cake

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In separate medium bowl, combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon lemon zest. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream together 3 cups granulated sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream mixture to butter mixture, mixing and scraping down sides of bowl until completely blended.

Pour into prepared pan and evenly distribute batter. Bake in middle of oven about 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in top of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes; carefully run a thin knife around edges. Invert cake onto cooling rack set over a cookie sheet or parchment paper.

Lemon Syrup

Meanwhile, in microwave-safe bowl, heat water and ¼ cup granulated sugar until just boiling. Stir in ¼ cup lemon juice. Using a pastry brush, gradually paint sides and top of hot cake with syrup, repeating until syrup is gone. Let cool completely.

Icing

In large mixing bowl, beat together powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until completely combined, adding additional lemon juice as needed to make a thick, just-pourable icing. Carefully drizzle over top of cake.

Makes 1 large cake (about 16 slices)

Notes:

  • To soften butter in the microwave, heat it on High for 5 seconds; turn. Repeat until butter is soft but not melted.
  • Zest whole lemons with a citrus zester or fine grater before halving them for juicing.  
  • Only zest the very outside of citrus fruit and not the white pith; it is bitter.
  • Have extra lemon juice? Refrigerate it to make “spa water” or freeze in an ice cube tray for future use.
  • If the cake isn’t releasing from the pan when inverted, let it cool an extra 5 minutes and run a thin knife around the edges again.
  • It takes a bit of patience to brush all of the lemon syrup onto the cake, and some will drip onto the cookie sheet or parchment beneath the cooling rack. Trust me, it’s all worth it!
  • Make the cake a day before serving for a relaxing, stress-free dessert that feeds a crowd and remains moist for many days – if it lasts that long!
  • This cake beautifully pairs with one of the newest additions to the Community Coffee line up, Amber Sunrise™ Blend, or try with Community Breakfast Blend. These lighter roasted coffees pair delicately with the lemony pound cake. 

 

Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee