Every single day, I get a call from the other side of the ocean, and the same subject comes up.
"What's the weather like?", Maman asks rather innocently. I'll usually say that it's kind of cold (zero degrees Celsius is rather cold in my opinion), but I think it doesn't really matter what kind of weather we have in Paris. The point is, the weather will be worse in the Midwest. This doesn't apply to the following seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Winter, however, is cause for concern on the other end of the line. A few days ago I even got an e-mail about it. "GRRRR", it read. I can tell you exactly how many days of sunlight Illinois has had in the past two months: two. (Was that an exaggeration?) I can even tell you all about the ice and snow and terrible temperatures and when-is-this-going-to-end!
However, today, I've decided to tell you about the sun. Sorry, Maman! As I peer out the window, the bright light is almost blinding, and the sky is Crayola-blue. I've only done so much as open the window this morning, but from what I hear it's going to be thirteen degrees in the afternoon--that's 55 Fahrenheit. Can we keep it between us, though? I'm afraid if I call in these particular meteorological statistics, someone in Urbana, Illinois might be tempted to run away to warmer climates.
When the sun finally shines after a long winter, salad starts to seem like an appealing lunch once again. The chocolate bar disappears slightly more slowly, and tea-time isn't just to stay warm by drinking scalding hot mug-fulls.
Tea-time, however, becomes a great time to try out a pound cake just as bright as the Winter sky. I'm not going to try and sell this one to you because it speaks for itself.
Lemon + lemon + lemon + pound cake = eat this.
If you love lemon, you won't be disappointed. I've been on the lookout for a lemon cake recipe I would be satisfied with, and this is it. I adapted an Ina Garten recipe I've read a lot about, making slight changes by simplifying a few steps--without taking away any flavor.
I think it's time for me to go make some offerings to the Sun God in the Tuileries garden with a thermos of tea and some lemon pound cake. Word out there is he's a lemon person too.
Super Lemon Pound Cake
adapted from Ina Garten
makes one loaf
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 regular eggs, room temperature
zest of 3 large lemons
1.5 c. flour
1/4 TS baking powder
1/4 TS baking soda
1/2 TS salt
1/4 c. lemon juice, divided into 1/8 + 1/8
scant 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 TS vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F / 185°C.
Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in a food processor or mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and zest--keep mixing.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In another bowl, mix buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla together.
Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the butter; begin and end with flour. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake approximately 45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool for five minutes in pan, remove, and place on a wire rack above a piece of parchment paper or a cutting board.
Meanwhile, mix 1/8 c. lemon juice with as much confectioner's sugar as you see fit, to create a glue-like syrup. With a toothpick or very slim knife, poke holes on top of the loaf and pour syrup on top, rubbing it in if necessary.
Let cool completely before cutting (and eating!).