Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake
I love pound cake. Good pound cake. Moist, dense, did-not-come-from-a-box pound cake. And I've been using the same recipe for over 20 years, because classics don't change. Oh, I've tweaked the Southern Living original recipe just a little bit for this variation, but it's the same southern favorite that would have been proudly served on a dinner table in Steel Magnolias or Driving Miss Daisy.

Cake:
1 c. unsalted butter, softened (no substitutions!)
3 c. granulated sugar
6 lg. eggs (at room temperature)
3 c. all-purpose flour (I use White Lily, of course!)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
8 oz. dairy sour cream (the real thing, not reduced or low-fat)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel

Glaze:
Fresh-squeezed juice from one lg. lemon
2 c. powdered sugar

Remove butter, eggs, and sour cream from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Don't skip this step! Thoroughly butter and flour a ten-inch tube pan, tap out excess flour. (No, you may not use Pam spray here). Place prepared pan on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Beat butter at medium speed of electric mixer until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually and continue to beat until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes (Don't scrimp here, either. Set your timer!). Add eggs, one at a time, and beat just until incorporated.

Measure flour and baking soda into a bowl and whisk to combine and remove any lumps. (Be sure to measure flour carefully. Too much and cake will not be tender and moist). With mixer at low speed, add flour to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just blended -- do not overbeat here. Stir in flavorings and lemon peel.

Carefully spoon batter into prepared pan, tap sharply on counter to remove any air pockets. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. the top should be golden brown and crispy, but not dark. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature. Mix glaze ingredients until smooth and spoon over cooled cake. Enjoy!

Options:
I love all things lemon, so this version rocks my world. If lemon is not your thing, eliminate the grated peel and use 2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. almond extract instead. The almond is amazing!

If chocolate pound cake is your idea of heaven, use 2 c. granulated + 1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar for the creamed mixture. Use 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa (get the good stuff, not just Hershey's for the best results) + 2.5 c. all-purpose flour for your dry ingredients and 2 tsp. vanilla extract for the flavoring. Use cocoa instead of flour when you prepare the pan for extra oomph to the chocolately goodness. Make a little ganache glaze from melted chocolate chips and heavy cream to pour over the slightly warm cake and, well, chocolate nirvana!

I happily eat pound cake straight, but fresh blueberries or raspberries, or a berry sauce, is great with the lemon or almond version. Almond or chocolate do well with a chocolate ganache/sauce or a caramel sauce. Or go simple and dust the cake with powdered sugar. Really, it's all good. Good!

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