FOR THE CAKE:
3 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with a knife
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (low fat is fine)
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, packed (see note)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
3 large eggs
FOR THE SYRUP:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
FOR THE GLAZE:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. I always add dry ingredients in little piles so I don’t forget what I’ve already added.
Whisk and set aside.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the batter.
It’s important to add these ingredients gradually because the butter base of the cake does not absorb a lot of liquid easily. If you rush it, the batter may separate, which will cause your cake to be heavy.
Transfer the cake batter to the prepared bundt pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. As you can see in the photo below, to prep the pan, I grease it with vegetable shortening and then dust with sugar. It works beautifully and leaves no floury residue on the outside of the cake.
Bake the cake for 65 to 75 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then stir in the lemon juice.
Invert the cake onto a wire rack. (Note: be sure to pop the cake out of the pan after ten minutes, as cooling too long in the pan will cause the cake to stick.) Slip a piece of parchment paper, aluminum foil, or paper towels underneath for easy clean-up.
Gradually brush the cake with the syrup, allowing it to soak in as you go. Try not to rush — some of the syrup will drip off but you want the cake to absorb as much as possible.
Leave the cake to cool completely, about one hour, before glazing. To make the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir until well combined. Add more confectioners’ sugar or lemon juice if necessary to make a thick but pourable glaze.
Once the cake is cool, drizzle the syrup over top, letting it drip down the sides.
Let the glaze set, then serve.
HOW TO FREEZE LEMON POUND CAKE
The cake can be frozen without the glaze for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw the overnight on the countertop before serving. (Add the syrup before the cake is frozen and add the glaze after the cake is thawed.)
Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
With the mixer on low speed, beat in one-quarter of the flour mixture, then one-third of the buttermilk mixture. Beat in another quarter of the flour, then another third of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with another quarter of the flour and the remaining buttermilk mixture. Finally, beat in the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and give a quick mix to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
(See note below before completing this step.) Thoroughly grease a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or vegetable shortening, making sure to get into all the crevices. Coat the greased pan generously with granulated sugar, making sure the entire surface of the pan is evenly coated.
Spoon the thick batter into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a tester comes out clean.
Set the cake on a cooling rack. Carefully run an offset spatula or table knife around the edges of your pan, between the pan and the cake, to loosen the cake from the pan (don't forget the center tube). Cool the cake in the pan for ten minutes. (Set a timer because if it stays in the pan too long, it may stick.)
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Invert the warm cake onto a rack. Slip a large piece of parchment paper, aluminum foil, or paper towels under the rack for easy clean-up. Gradually brush the hot syrup over the cake, letting it soak in (a little syrup will drip off, but try not to rush so that most of it is absorbed). Allow the cake to cool completely, about one hour.
When the cake is cool, carefully transfer it to a serving platter. To make the glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. Add more confectioners' sugar or lemon juice as necessary to make a thick but pourable glaze (it should be a little thicker than you'd think, about the consistency of molasses or honey). Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
Note: You'll need 4 to 5 large lemons for the entire recipe.
Note: As the recipe indicates, I grease the Bundt pan with vegetable shortening and then dust it with sugar. It has always worked beautifully for me, but a number of readers have mentioned problems with the cake sticking. If you’d prefer to use a different method, treat the pan by generously coating it with butter and then dusting it with flour, or use a nonstick baking spray with flour like Pam with Flour or Baker’s Joy. (Also, it's best not to use a Bundt pan with an intricate design for this cake, as they are more prone to sticking.) Another option (that is foolproof) is to use two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans instead of a Bundt pan. Loaf pans are much less prone to sticking, and you can line them with parchment paper for extra insurance. To prepare the loaf pans, spray them with nonstick baking spray, line the bottoms with parchment, and then spray them again. The bake time will be 50 to 60 minutes, and you will only need half of the soaking syrup.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen (without the glaze) for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving. (Add the syrup before the cake is frozen and add the glaze after the cake is thawed.)
Per serving (16 servings)
Serving size: 1 slice
Saturated fat: 4g