This was a very last minute dessert I made this week for company. I really love pound cake, but sometimes I find it can be dry and boring. I knew I wanted to spice things up and make an elegant dessert. I had a little over an hour to create and this is what I came up with. This pound cake is really delicious and best served when slightly warm. The berries are different and unexpected, but work.
It is called vanilla lemon pound cake, so it has to live up to its name! I went on an overload with the vanilla by using vanilla extract, vanilla paste and ground vanilla beans. Now, I know you might not have the last 2 ingredients, (I do highly suggest finding them at a specialty food store!) but they really perfume the pound cake so beautifully. If you cannot find the last 2 ingredients, a fresh vanilla bean with the seeds scraped will work or just more vanilla extract.
For the lemon, I used the zest from a whole lemon, which I think has all the best flavor. Here is how I made the pound cake.
Vanilla Lemon Pound Cake:
1 Cup (2 Sticks): Unsalted butter, soft
1 1/4 Cups: Sugar
4 Large: Eggs
1 teaspoon: Vanilla paste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon: Ground vanilla beans (optional)
1 Lemon, zested.
2 Cups: All purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon: Salt
1/2 teaspoon: Baking powder
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan that is 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches.
2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed. This takes about 3 minutes for it to become light in color.
3) While the butter and sugar are creaming, measure out the eggs, honey, vanilla(s) and lemon zest in a small bowl. With the mixer on, add in the egg mixture one egg at a time. Scrape down the bowl in between each egg and incorporate.
4) Combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and add it to the batter with the mixer on low speed. Do not over beat. Take the bowl off the mixer and finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula.
5) Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes, then take out of the pan. Serve slightly warm.
While the pound cake was baking I prepared the berries. I used fresh ginger and basil, which is one of the best food combinations. Odd? A little, but odd is a good thing! My mom was making fresh tomato sauce, and of course she added basil, so I snatched some. We also had fresh ginger left over for a drink we made, so I took that too. That’s how this little creation started.
The berries were macerated in the refrigerator, which basically means marinating. When you are macerating berries or dried fruit, you use a liquid (an acid or liquor) and sugar. The sugar will help the fruits release their juices and create a beautiful, chunky fruit syrup. Which is perfect with pound cake-it almost acts like a sponge moping up all those flavors! Feel free to use any berries you like.
Ginger & Basil Macerated Berries:
1/2 Cup: Blackberries
1/2 Cup: Blueberries
1/2 teaspoon: Fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon: Fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1/2 teaspoon: Lemon zest
4 Tablespoons: Sugar
Juice from half a lemon
That’s how it’s done! Simple & elegant.