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Shirley’s Lemon Pound Cake

If you’ve ever been to one of my classes or read many of my posts, you know that one of my “Go-To” sources for information is Shirley Corriher. I have both of her books – Cookwise and Bakewise – more like textbooks really. Whenever I have a question about why something is working (or more likely – not working) I head to these books to understand what’s going on.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to meet and visit with Shirley over the years through the International Association of Culinary Professionals at our annual conferences as well as visiting with her when I’ve had some free time in Atlanta. (Although it seems I haven’t taken many pictures with her – I put one in the pictures to the right, but it is from the IACP conference in 2010 when Shirley led a class for us in Portland).

But I often forget that while I view Bakewise as more of a text book – it has a bunch of incredible recipes in it. One that I have made time and time again over the years (And been asked for the recipe before) is the Take-Your-Breath-Away Lemon Pound Cake. If you don’t have these two books, they are a must for your cookbook library (If you want more information, Click Here for the Resource Page – or I’ve posted a link to the two books to the right.)

The recipe has a fair number of ingredients, but in this recipe Shirley has made a number of adjustments in both ingredients and method to produce a very moist, incredibly lemon-y pound cake.

We start by creaming the fat – first butter, then adding the shortening. Next we add the sugar and beat until it is very light.

The next step is adding the lemon flavor. The ingredients may look like overkill – but trust me – but if you want the intense lemon flavor, you need ALL of this. We start by zesting four lemons. Then juice the “naked” lemons until you have 3 tablespoons of juice. Lastly, you add a full 2 tablespoons (30 ml or 1 ounce) of lemon extract. Yup – you read that right – lemon zest, juice and extract. (Lemon extract can normally be found with the other extracts at the grocery store – if you have trouble finding it, Penzey’s Spices has a wonderful product and you get free shipping with $30 or more order.)

So next we add all the lemon and the oil to the mixture. Since many flavors are fat soluble, this helps carry and distribute the lemon flavor through the cake by adding it at this point in the recipe.

Next come the eggs – Shirley uses 5 whole eggs and 2 extra yolks. The extra yolks help with both the texture and moisture in the cake.

In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Then add them to the mixture about a third at a time until the well mixed.

Here’s the other secret to this cake – whipped cream….. Rather than just adding the dairy straight to the batter, we are using heavy whipping cream and we whip it to just past soft peaks and fold that into the batter. This gets both the dairy and some trapped air that will help the texture be softer and hold more moisture in the cake.

Once it is all folded together, we’re ready to bake it. I started with a bundt pan and sprayed it with the baking spray – non-stick cooking spray that has flour in it. (Now just a note about spraying pans when you’re baking – be sure to do it over the sink! I’ve made the mistake of spraying while I was holding the pan and what didn’t go in the pan went on the floor – trust me that you will hurt yourself – who knew baking could be so dangerous).

Another trick that Shirley uses on this recipe is putting a baking or pizza stone in the oven when preheating to 350 degrees. The batter goes into the pan. The pan goes into the oven on the baking stone and bakes for about an hour. You want to bake until the top springs back when touched, a toothpick comes out clean but wet and preferably, the cake should not be pulling away from the sides. When I’ve made the cake (as you can see in the pictures), the top is a bit browner and starting to pull away before the middle comes out clean but wet on the toothpick.

Once it is done, let it cool for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto the cake plate. And if you thought you were done adding lemon flavor – you would be wrong. We make a glaze by mixing sugar with lemon juice and brush this on the cake while it finishes cooling. I generally brush it at least 3 times if not 4 before we put on the icing.

I used a slightly modified pound cake icing for this one. Rather than the powdered sugar with cream icing, I used lemon juice with powdered sugar (And I had it a little thin, so it ended up running down the sides more – should have added a little more powdered sugar to firm it up before I put it on….).

Let the icing dry and harden some and now you have a Lemon Pound Cake that will wow whoever you serve it to. If I haven’t convinced you yet that you need to buy book Cookwise and Bakewise, I don’t know what else to tell you…

Shirley’s Take-Your-Breath-Away Lemon Pound Cake
Recipe from BakeWise (Page 25)

Note: The amounts in this recipe differ a bit from the version in print of my book – no, I’m not changing Shirley’s recipe – she did – when she signed my copy of Bakewise, she turned to this recipe and made a few changes to it….

5 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1 ounce pieces
1/2 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) pure lemon extract
Zest of 4 large lemons
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large egg yolks
5 large eggs
3 cups spooned and leveled all-purpose flour (about 12 1/8 ounces by weight)
1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Lemon Glaze (Optional)
Lemon Icing (Optional)

Put shelf in lower third of the oven. Place baking stone on the shelf. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 10 inch tube pan or 12 cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.

With mixer on medium speed, beat the butter to soften. Add the shortening and beat until the mixture is light and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat (cream) until very light, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl at least once. While creaming, feel the bowl; if it does not feel cool, place in the freezer for about 5 minutes and continue creaming. Beat in the oil, lemon extract, lemon zest and lemon juice.

On the lowest speed, with a minimum of beating, blend in the yolks and then the whole eggs, one at a time.

In a medium bowl, with a fork or hand mixer, beat together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt for a full 30 seconds.

On the lowest speed, blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three additions. Scrape down the sides and all the way to the bottom at least once.

Place bowl, beaters, and cream in the freezer to chill for 5 minutes. Whip the cream until soft peaks form when the beater is lifted. Whip just past the soft peak stage. Stir about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the batter to lighten. Then gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Drop the pan onto the counter from a height of about 4 inches to knock out bubbles. Smooth the batter with a spatula.

Place the cake in the oven on the stone and bake until the cake springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean but moist, about 1 hour. Ideally, the cake should not pull away from the sides until it has just come out of the oven. Place the cake in the pan on a rack to cool. Allow to stand 10 to 20 minutes. Make sure that the cake is loosened from the pan by jarring it against the counter. Invert the cake onto the serving platter to finish cooling.

While the cake is hot, if desired, bursh and rebrush several times with the Lemon Glaze. This cake improves upon standing for two or three days, well wrapped and refrigerated. When ready to serve, drizzle on Pound Cake Icing.

Lemon Glaze
Mix together 1/3 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. If it doesn’t dissolve, heat briefly (Note: I used about 20 seconds in the microwave…). Brush on the hot cake – rebrush until the glaze is absorbed. (I generally brush glaze on 4 or 5 times over a day or two….)

Lemon Icing
Mix together 1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice until it is a thick, but “pourable” or “spreadable” consistency. Put over the top of the cake and it will “dry” to a thick consistency.

C.C. & Shirley at a class in 2010 in Portland, OR.

Most of the ingredients

Mixing the butter

Butter and Shortening

Zesting the Lemons

Lemon Zest

Adding sugar to the butter mixture

After creaming the butter

Adding all the Lemon Flavor and Oil

Batter with the eggs added

Adding the dry ingredients

Batter after adding all of the dry ingredients


Final Batter ready to bake

Prepared Bundt Pan




Brushing on the Lemon Glaze

Lemon Pound Cake

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hello. I just got her book today 🙂 2 quick questions, I have people that cannot eat almonds, do you suggest leaving out that 1/2 cup or substituting it with something else. 2 is that a 12 cup bundt pan? If so, what brand is it? Thanks.

    1. As far as the Almond Flour, you can substitute regular flour for it – just up the flour by the 1/2 cup. I haven’t done the recipe that way, so I don’t know how the texture will change. Please note, almond flour often requires a bit more liquid than regular flour. I’d make it as the recipe says and see how the batter comes out. You may have to bake a few minutes more if the batter is too wet. If it is, reduce the liquid by a tablespoon or two the next time. I will have to check on the exact size of the Bundt pan I used when I get home. I know it is a Nordic Ware Nonstick Regular Bundt pan.

      1. Great. Thanks for the reply. I will have to try it out next weekend. Need to buy a new bundt pay, so I’m still trying to find a good one. Thanks again.

  2. I have Shirley’s cookbook, but I was lazy and didn’t want to get it out one day, which caused me to happen upon this modified version. I will say that this one seemed to bake faster than the original version. The original, which has a higher amount of sugar and lower amount of flour, did seem to have a more pronounced lemon flavor, despite having the same amount of lemon between to the two version. This was a good experiment, though, and of course, since it is still Shirley’s recipe, it was beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

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