Plain Cake Dr. Clara May Isley (my great, great aunt)
My mother collected pound cake recipes mainly because they were my father’s favorite dessert. When I got married my parents presented me with an index box filled with hand-written family recipes. This one from Clara May (a pediatrician and quite a rarity for a woman at that time) was noted by my father as being “Very, very good.” See for yourself if you like it too.
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
For the glaze:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons Lemoncello
Preheat oven to 350⁰F
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
Butter a loaf or tube pan. Then, coat it with flour. Hit the side of the pan against a surface to help dislodge any accumulation of flour. Toss out excess flour.
1. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl for about 5 minutes (I used a standing mixer.)
2. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
3. Sift the flour before measuring it into a bowl.
4. Add salt and mix thoroughly.
5. Add the dry ingredients-- in three equal portions-- to the creamed butter mixture.
6. Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly.
7. Pour the batter into a prepared loaf or tube pan.
8. Cook for an hour. Be sure to test after 50 minutes. (If using a tube pan, cook 15 minutes longer). Don’t let the cake overcook. Unlike most recipes which say the cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean, my aunt suggested having a few crumbs on it. She claims, and correctly so, the cake will continue to cook a bit once removed from the oven.
9. While the cake bakes, make the glaze. Warm the juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add Lemoncello.
10. Allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes covered in a dish towel.
11. Remove from pan, place on serving plate. Then, liberally apply glaze with a pastry brush on the top and sides of the cake.
Serving suggestions: This plain cake recipe is a canvas upon which you can add your own personal touches. I like to add fresh berries for color and texture contrast plus a scoop of lemon sorbet.
Serves up to 12 people, depending on the size of your servings.