Melanie's Musings
January 19, 2016

Lemon pound cake kitchen adventures and the best baking cookbook I’ve seen

There are things in life I was better off not knowing. Like the amount of butter that goes into a pound cake, for example.

In an effort to fulfill my goal of baking All The Food, I decided to make a lemon pound cake. Of course, I brought out my new best friend, Baking by James Peterson*. I got Baking from the library but now have it at the top of my wishlist. Each section (cakes, pies, cookies, breads, and custards) starts with the basics, then goes on to things I can only dream of one day being able to create, like cream puff pastry swans. Look and be amazed.

What I really like about Baking is the combined simplicity and details in the recipes. Like, it tells you how long to stir the stuff. Honestly, I’ve never stirred anything for longer than two minutes in my life, except for trouble. The book does expect you to have tools, like a mixer, that I don’t have in my kitchen, but such things are easy to work around.

Baking always allows me to practice two of my weakest virtues: crisis management and patience. For the lemon pound cake, it went like this:

Crisis Management: The pound cake has risen to the point of slowly overflowing and dripping batter onto the bottom of the oven that is causing smoke to mildly billow all over the house? Never fear! Just scrape it out and keep going.

Patience: The recipe says the cake tastes best if you wait days to eat it? I might have nibbled just one bite, but I wrapped the rest up and waited ’til the morning to make a lemon glaze. I was somewhat astonished by my self control.

Despite the minor debacles, the cake turned out really good. I don’t know if I’ll be making a lot of pound cakes in the future (2 1/2 sticks of butter! madness!), but I’m glad to have made it once.

Realizing that eating the entire pound cake by myself might be in conflict with other of my new year goals, I invited friends to eat it over breakfast with tea.

Good food and friends? Nothing’s better.

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

*Baking‘s recipe for pound cakes didn’t call for any lemon, only zest, so I also pulled up a recipe from Epicurious for extra help.

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Posted by Melanie at 8:51 am – Comments (9)
Categories: cooking

Add A Comment


  • January 23rd 2016
    Beth F said:

    I LOVE James Peterson! Seriously, he is one of my go-to, trusted cookbook & recipe authors. You can’t go wrong.

    Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, so lemon pound cake is high on my craving list. Yeah, all that butter, all that sugar, hard to justify on a regular basis. But still!


  • January 23rd 2016

    I love a good baking book and I don’t have this one. Must fix this immediately though I doubt I’ll be making any puff pastry swans anytime soon. I love lemon pound cake and it’d be delicious on this grey cold day. A nice little bit of sunshine. I doubt I have your self control about waiting a day though!


  • January 23rd 2016

    Those puff pastry swans!!! Gorgeous!

    I love pound cake, especially lemon,but try not to eat to very often because of all that butter. Your will power to wait days before eating it is admirable… I would have sampled far more than just a little nibble. Need to take a closer look at this cookbook.


  • January 23rd 2016

    You showed remarkable restraint waiting to eat your pound cake, I’m not sure I could do it. And I love your line about stirring up trouble- very funny!


  • January 23rd 2016
    jama said:

    Yes, pound cakes are very rich but a good way to treat yourself every once in awhile. Love lemon anything too. Will have to look for this cookbook!


  • January 23rd 2016

    Definitely a dish for sharing!

    We made Julia Child’s pumpkin pie a few years for winter family holiday celebrations, but had to quit. By the time we made a practice pie or two, it was just too much. Everyone else liked it, but they didn’t know how much butter and cream were involved in the production.


  • January 24th 2016
    Laurie C said:

    I love to bake, but only have made one pound cake, many years ago. The recipe I used was deceptively short and simple. The resulting cake weighed about three pounds, I think! I later learned there were all sorts of tips for making pound cake out there, so the detailed recipes in this cookbook you were using sound like just what is needed!


  • January 24th 2016
    Trish said:

    I’m impressed with your self control as well! Not sure that I could be so restrained. Sometimes when I make cakes that might overflow I put a piece of foil below the cake to catch drippings. Though I’ve had to scrape my fair share of burnt stuff off the bottom of my oven! 😉 Looks delicious!


  • January 24th 2016
    Vicki said:

    Oh that looks good!