Last year when Meyer lemons turned up in my local grocery store, I might as well have done back-flips right there in the produce department. The previous year, I’d driven 2 hours to go to the nearest Whole Foods – mainly to find these little beauties. I do that occasionally, take a trip up to the “fancy” grocery stores to stock up on things that I can’t find here. What can I say? I’m a crazy foodie.
Meyer lemons are a cross between a standard Eureka lemon and a mandarin orange. Thin skinned, and a gorgeous rich yellow color. They originated in China, and were brought to our country in 1908 by an agricultural explorer, Frank Meyer, who was an employee of the US Department of Agriculture. Their popularity surged in the 1990’s when they became popular in the California cuisine front, and then gained more notoriety from Martha Stewart – who used them in virtually everything from spaghetti to ice cream.
And, I love using them just as much as Martha. From a glass of lemonade, to shrimp scampi, lemon bars, and even a simple pound cake with glaze. I love pound cakes, they take virtually no time to put together. And, they’re great for breakfast in the morning – or a sweet treat later at night. The flavor of the lemon really shines through in this cake, from the addition of the zest to the cake batter. The glaze is delicious, with just enough of a pucker from the lemon juice. If you’re fortunate enough to find these little beauties in your grocery store, do yourself a favor and pick up a bag. They really are wonderful!
Meyer Lemon Pound Cake
For the pound cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 additional tablespoons
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
For the syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
For the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk to combine. Whisk the sour cream and lemon juice together in a small measuring cup.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the lemon zest and sugar. Rub together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter to the bowl and beat the butter/sugar mixture on medium speed until very pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the eggs in 3 additions, beating well after each addition until the mixture is smooth (stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary). With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the sour cream mixture in 2 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Once all the ingredients have been added, scrape down the bowl then beat on low for another 30 seconds to fully combine. Use a rubber spatula to make sure the batter in the very bottom of the bowl is uniform.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Smooth the top then tap the pan on your work surface to release air bubbles. Bake the cake for 55-65 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted near the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then turn it out.
While the cake is in the oven, make the syrup. Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Once you’ve turned the cake out of the pan (cake will still be warm), brush the top and sides with the lemon syrup. It seems like a lot of syrup, but make sure to use it all. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours.
To make the glaze: Combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake, covering completely. Let the glaze set for at least 15 minutes before serving.
This cake keeps well. Store at room temperature tightly wrapped for up to 5 days, or freeze (unglazed) for up to 1 month.