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and there will be cake

Recipe: sour cream lemon pound cake

[Portal 2 was released Tuesday. If you know what I’m talking about, you’ll understand the cake reference.]

We had a little accident earlier this week. Well, Kaweah had an accident when no one was around. I came home from an appointment to find her limping about, crying in pain, and hanging her head low and to the left. We’re pretty sure she fell down the stairs. I carried her to the car and drove to her vet. Nothing broken, probably a bad sprain. They informed me that Kaweah has terrific range of motion and health for her age. She got a treat and a bottle of pain medication. She’s on the mend, but we’re watching her and… we’ve installed baby gates at both sets of stairs.

it’s for your own good, kaweah

Kaweah was improved enough Tuesday evening that we were okay to leave her at home and meet up with my cousin and her husband for a lovely dinner at Frasca in Boulder.

waiting for my cousin to arrive

my duck egg appetizer

jeremy’s yellowfin tuna appetizer

colorado lamb roasted to perfection

pan-seared sea bream

I hadn’t been to Frasca since last summer (but I’ve been to Pizzeria Locale quite a bit this year) and the interior has changed up due to a remodel. Our server said we could get a tour of the kitchen after our meal. Bobby Stuckey (owner and wine director) graciously took us around the new spaces – new dining area (which used to be the old kitchen), the gorgeous glass polishing room, the kitchen, the offices, and then out the back way into Pizzeria Locale (part of Frasca) and then next door to the Caffe.

i’d love to have a glass polishing room – and i’ll need a glass polisher too

We are spoiled rotten in Boulder with so many fantastic restaurants (especially considering the size of the city). Frasca is most certainly one of our favorites. It’s that special place you go when something big has happened. I already promised my girlfriend that I’m taking her there for dinner to celebrate the completion of her Ph.D. this summer. I’m looking forward to it. And summer is fast on spring’s heels.

boulder is starting to bloom

Spring in Boulder means sunshine, warmer weather, that yellow-green haze of leaves just starting to bud on naked trees, and undergraduates who are a little too excited to don their Daisy Dukes even though it’s only 55°F out. Spring in my mountain town means snow, rain, rainbows, sunshine, more snow… I like that it’s still cool enough around here for me to bake without wilting in the heat.

time for cake: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, lemons, sour cream, salt, baking soda

grease and flour your cake pan

I used to have a great lemon pound cake recipe that I made often when I lived at sea-level. Then I made it a few months after moving to the mountains and it cratered like nobody’s business. I was really sad. The texture of the pound cake wasn’t even close. I tried adjusting ingredients, but it either tanked or was off or both. So I stayed away from making lemon pound cake for a few years.

add eggs one at a time to creamed butter and sugar

grating lemon peel

Despite the utter failure of my lemon pound cake, my sour cream coffee cake turned out consistently and well. I began to notice that baked goods with sour cream baked up more stable at my elevation. It dawned on me last week that perhaps the addition of sour cream could solve my lemon pound cake problem.

pro tip: zest first, then juice

adding lemon juice and zest

This recipe makes A LOT of cake. It calls for a 16-cup tube pan. I don’t own a 16-cup cake pan, so I went with the 12-cup bundt pan. Here’s me telling you that you probably shouldn’t cram a 16-cup tube pan recipe into a 12-cup bundt pan.

manually stir in the flour

finally mix the sour cream into the batter

I had made a little mental note to myself that went something like this, “Hey, you should only pour 3/4 of the batter into the bundt and then pour the rest of the batter into little mini loaf pans because you know… it might overflow and collapse/spill onto the oven floor and make a mess.” Lately, my mental notes keep getting tossed into the mental recycling pile.

pour the batter into the pan (don’t overfill like I did)

Believe it or not, my cake DIDN’T overflow. It was close, but it didn’t. It did however, crater a wee bit. Just a bit. On one side. My oven and I may be breaking up this summer. Despite the minor cratering, the pound cake was lovely. Good lemony flavor, nice tender (but dense) crumb, maybe a little on the sweet side for me (that’s easy to remedy), a crunchy golden crust, and… it released from the pan beautifully!

and there will be cake

it’s even better shared with someone(s) special

Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake
[print recipe]
from Epicurious

3 cups (450g) flour (the original recipe uses cake flour – I use all-purpose at my elevation)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups (675g) sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp lemon zest, grated (from about 2 lemons – zest first THEN juice)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
1 cup sour cream

Oven: 325°F. Grease a 16-cup tube or bundt pan. I used a 12-cup bundt and while the cake didn’t overflow and disembowel on my oven floor, it did crater a tad which was likely due to overfilling the pan. So yes, use a 16-cup capacity something or other to bake this. Dust the pan with cake flour (or all-purpose flour like I used) and tap out the excess. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter at medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar to the butter while continuing to beat. Beat for 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the egg is just incorporated. I scrape down the sides of the bowl too. When all of the eggs have been added, beat in the lemon peel and juice. Manually mix in the dry ingredients (unless you enjoy dusting your entire being and kitchen with flour, in which case – use the electric or stand mixer!) until the flour is just blended. Mix in the sour cream (this you can do with the mixer). Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out just clean – about 90 minutes (but for me it was more like 75 minutes). Allow the cake to cool in its pan on a cooling rack until cool enough for you to touch it. Use a thin knife to carefully loosen the edges. I usually shake it gently (yet forcefully) from side to side and then give it a short jolt up to see if the cake is separating from the pan. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely. The recipe says it serves 12, but it’s more like 16 (at least).

45 nibbles at “and there will be cake”

  1. Kitt says:

    Ooh, thanks for the reminder. I’ll see if I can get on the Frasca wait list while Mom’s visiting.

    Meanwhile, I would like some of that cake, please. In a perfect world, that recipe would serve one: ME.

  2. Kristin says:

    I’m glad Kaweah didn’t break anything & got the good report on her her health in general. The cake is lovely! Sounds like a good alternative to the usual sour cream pound/coffee cake with streusel.

  3. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says:

    that cake batter just looks…luscious and wonderful. I could skip the baking process and just eat batter :)

  4. My Kitchen in the Rockies says:

    Now, that’s a cake for me. Did you have to make any altitude adjustments?

  5. Scott L. says:

    Portal reference, amazing food, and a delicious cake? Could this be a more perfect post?

  6. Krista @ The Beet Reporter says:

    Oh this looks delicious! A perfect sweet treat for spring.

  7. joanne says:

    Poor Kaweah! To get injured when the humans aren’t there to soothe! Glad to hear it isn’t anything serious. Give her a good rub between the ears.

  8. Michelle says:

    Oh poor pooch! So scary! The cake looks spendid – and huge!

  9. Richard says:

    I can’t wait to try this cake. I live in Denver so I’m familiar with trauma of baking at a high altitude.

  10. Corny says:

    Hi Jen,

    Longtime fan here! It seems, though, that you’ve got a problem with your hyperlinking. I’m unable to right-click on the Frasca link in this post and had the same problem with some links in another recent post. I don’t know if this is just me, or if it’s even worth fixing (doesn’t bother me that much, I can still command+click it open to a new tab), but thought you should know. I’m using Chrome on a MBP that runs Snow Leopard. Anyway, keep blogging excellently!

  11. Heidi @ Food Doodles says:

    Mmm I love lemon. The cake looks delicious :) I hope Kaweah feels better!

  12. Allie says:

    I’m doing science and I’m still alive!

    Cake looks soooo good and the last 2 pictures are so fancy! I made the kale chips last night and loved them, maybe I could tackle cake soon.

  13. Nicole says:

    I absolutely had that feeling of coming home to an injured dog. I always feel so guilty. When our pup was a about 9 months we left him in the laundry room with just his blanket and a couple of toys. We thought we had put away anything that he could injure himself with. We returned home two hours later to what looked like a murder scene in the laundry room. The funny thing was that he seemed fine. We check him over and couldn’t find any cuts or scrapes, looked in his mouth and everything. We never did figure out where all that blood came from!
    I absolutely love pound cake with fresh berries. Lemon sounds delightful. The photos are amazing.

  14. Anne says:

    It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that this was a triumph!

    Sour cream cake is forever a favorite of mine because it’s associated with my maternal grandmother. Her sour cream cake uses almond and vanilla extracts, and I’ve never seen it turn out anything but perfectly moist, dense, and amazing. I’m sure the lemon version is just as delicious.

    Sending big (gentle) hugs and belly rubs to your pupster! So glad she wasn’t seriously injured.

  15. Sil says:

    Poor sweet Kaweah! Good to know that she´s getting better though.
    You Boulder guys are spoiled indeed! And your pictures are so great that I always end wishing I could be there to see if those places are as good are your pics.
    Jen, I need your advice. I want to make this cake but I can’t find here (Buenos Aires) sour cream. Can I replace it with regular cream? Thank you in advance!
    Enjoy your lovely weather. :-)

  16. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    Poor puppy! Hope she feels better soon.


  17. Pat says:

    Awww, best wishes for Miss K’s quick recovery! Maybe some type of traction/grippy thingies (my own technical term) are a good addition for the stairs if they’re smooth? As always food looks amazing!

  18. Sherry says:

    The cake isn’t a lie if there’s actually cake!!

  19. Joy says:

    That looks lovely. I love the pound cake.

  20. Mrs Ergül says:

    That is indeed a beautiful pound cake! And 16 cups onto 12 cups! Lucky it worked :) Glad that Kaweah is better now. xxoo

  21. Perfecting Pru says:

    It looks like the perfect cake for Easter. Thank you.

    I hope Kaweah is getting better.

  22. Jill says:

    Glad Kaweah is improving. Friends of mine that to carry their big dog up and down stairs for weeks after surgery. They made a sling, for under the abdomen/chest, and it made things much easier .

    OMG this lemon pound cake is to die for!!!!!!!!

  23. Margie says:

    So sorry to hear that Miss K. has an injury. I’m sending good vibes her way. It is comforting to know that she is in such great health, otherwise. That sort of news is ALWAYS a joy to hear.

    Love this cake, too. Sour cream + fresh lemon = yum! :)

  24. Papacheong says:

    It sure looks GOOD!

  25. Chez Us says:

    Oh, jealous, I adore Frasca. Has been too long.

    Pound cake is always one of those things that I forgot about. It is perfect for an easy dessert. I love adding fresh fruit as a topping during the summer; instead of traditional shortcakes. I will have to remember your lemony recipe. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  26. Anna McCormack says:

    I haven’t had pound cake since I was in college all those (too many to count) years ago. My daughter told me about this cooking contest Paula Deen has going on now. Women of Philadelphia I think it’s called. Apparently there’s a dessert category. I think a little lemon pound cake could add some flavor to the competition… pun intended! Anyone heard about this?

  27. ailo says:

    Don’t drop the potato!

    Also, I love lemon. This cake looks like a win. And not a lie.

  28. Annie says:

    Gorgeous! I love a good pound cake, and I think sour cream makes magical things happen in baking. I hope Kaweah is all better soon!

  29. Melanie says:

    Oh poor Keweah!! I have dealt with my share of lab injuries. If you thought she could look sad BEFORE, just look how sad she looks now with her sprain! The cake looks scrumptious. And I dont know what Portal 2 is, so I clicked on the link. So now, I will have to spend more time not getting my work done checking that out… Happy spring!

  30. Hannah@ Bake Five says:

    im glad kaweah got well soon enough! i had a dog who made his way out of the house, down the elevator, and into the basement carpark, where he got involved in a hit and run. The way people treat animals, I’ll never figure it out. =S

    on a lighter note, that’s some delicious looking cake! and very pretty (and yummy) pictures, too. (:

  31. Lady Amalthea says:

    I’m glad Keweah’s feeling better! She looks so adorable and forlorn behind that gate.

    Beautiful cake recipes; I’m not much of a baker (not to mention no pound cakes at Passover) but I can still sit at my computer and drool!

  32. Debbie says:

    I love pound cakes….one of my favorites. They are always delicious and go a long way!

  33. rumana says:

    lovely jen…cake looks yum n in my experience sour cream doesmake evrythng taste better n improve the texture as well..d snaps r gorgeous

  34. Lucie says:

    The photos from your meal are beautiful–what pretty colors. Sour cream lemon cake is my favorite cake in the whole wide world…reading about it just made me want to go and bake one in between my back-to-back eating of Easter chocolate!

  35. eemilla says:

    My pregnant self has been craving pound cake, but I’ve been settling for whatever goods someone else is baking; however, your photos may have pushed me over the edge.

  36. Angie Gibb says:

    Being the southern girl that I am…. I love pound cake. No I mean I SERIOUSLY LOVE pound cake. Make it lemon and I’m done… just like my grandma’s. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the beautiful pictures.

    And now…. I had to wait a couple of days before posting my comments because the only thing I could think of was Kaweah. I had to swallow really hard when I read your post, and even that didn’t help much. I am a dog person right through to my core and the thought of her tumbling down the stairs put me over the edge MORE than the picture of the cake… I am relieved that she’s okay, but we may need another update soon to be sure.

    Thank you puppy gates…… whew. Better now, time for cake.

  37. Lily G says:

    I made this cake on easter weekend, and it was ABSOLUTELY perfect. It was my first time baking a cake in a bundt pan. I think my bundt pan is a bit too small, the batter filled up about a bit more than 3/4 full. And when the cake was done, it rose about 1/2 inch higher than the pan. But other than that, everything is perfect. It’s THE best lemon pound cake I’ve ever had, better than Starbucks’ lemon pound cake. The lemon flavor is just right. Not too much, not too less. And I add lemon glaze/icing, too..:)) ohhh yummmm….I’ll make another one today.
    Thank you so much, Jen, for sharing this recipe.

    Can I substitute the bundt pan with loaf pan? and will the temperature have to change?

  38. Jenny says:

    Wow, that looks yummy. I’ll add it to my list of all the other recipes I want to try! Did you change the leavening for the elevation at all or just the flour?

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  40. jenyu says:

    Thanks all for the well-wishes. Kaweah is pretty much back to her normal goofy self now :)

    Kitt – I think Mom would love Frasca! It’s such a great experience.

    My Kitchen in the Rockies – I didn’t actually make any adjustments for elevation. It seems that all of the sour cream cake recipes I make are really stable!

    Scott L – yay! someone got the Portal reference!

    joanne – I know, I felt so terrible when I got home :( but she’s all better now! xo

    Corny – bingo! I have right clicking disabled, so command+click is the way to go. Thanks for the vigilance :)

    Sil – I think regular cream won’t work because it is liquid. You may try substitutions from this link:

    Pat – yeah, we have carpet on one half of the stairs, but she insists on going downstairs on the uncarpeted side.

    Chez Us – mmmm Frasca! :) Thanks for the tip – fresh fruit on pound cake sounds sooo good.

    Angie – she’s fine now, but I understand. It made my heart sick to think she fell and was all alone. I still don’t know how she managed to get back up the stairs. Poor thing :) thanks. xo

    Lily – yeah, that cake really needs a big pan. I think you could sub with several loaf pans (probably 4 or more?) Not sure if temp will have to change. Perhaps not? I’d try it with one and monitor how it bakes first.

    Jenny – no changes! Isn’t that awesome?! :)

  41. jennifer says:

    Can I make this w/o lemon? I just love plain Sr crm lb cake! Should I add more of something in place of lemon?

  42. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – I’m sure you could, but I cannot vouch for how it would turn out. I might replace the lemon juice with some vanilla and milk?

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  45. Marilyn D Braswell says:

    Cake was awesome and went fast

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