Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Lime Citrus Glaze

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

I wish there were citrus trees in Colorado.  I would love to see a splash of color against the brown winter landscape.  Limes, lemons and oranges would cheer me right up.  When there's snow on the ground, everything looks  clean and wintery, but after it melts away, the magic of winter melts with it and everything is just drab and cold again.  I'm really ready for spring.

The pretty green specks of lime zest against the white glaze on this pound cake remind me of fresh green shoots poking up through snow.  A promise that spring is on its way.

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

I don't make pound cake often -it's too scandalously rich and buttery to be an every day affair.  So when I do make it, just once a year, I do it up right, with my favorite family recipe.

I used to think that pound cake was named as such because whoever ate a slice would immediately gain a pound, which isn't exactly true, although it certainly doesn't skimp on the calories.  The cake was named from the traditional method of combining a pound each of flour, sugar, butter and eggs, although even in lesser quantities, a pound cake made with a 1:1 ratio of these ingredients is still considered a true pound cake.  Vanilla, almond extract or lemon are often added as well, and I like them all so much that I'm not sure which is my favorite addition.

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Now, my Uncle Andy's recipe actually can't be considered a true pound cake because it also contains cream cheese, and I'm well aware that the quantities it uses of flour, sugar, butter and eggs don't all equal each other in weight.  However, I stand by this recipe as the best pound cake ever with its moist, buttery and dense cake inside contrasting with the delightfully golden brown crust.  I like to think that the crust is formed when all that sugar and butter in the batter caramelizes against the side of the hot pan, although I really don't know how if that's how it happens or not.

A whole vanilla bean gives this cake a luxurious flavor, and the brightness of the lime citrus glaze adds just the freshness needed for such a rich cake.  Coarse vanilla sugar sprinkled over the glaze adds sparkle and a little crunch.

I made this cake weeks ago, and it's long since gone, but tonight, I'm wishing I had a sweet slice to enjoy, on this chilly evening at home, with spring still too far away.

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Lime Citrus Glaze
printable recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • vanilla bean seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • warm water
  • coarse sugar  
For a lighter but still delicious version of this pound cake, click here for an alternate recipe.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Spray a Bundt pan with non-stick baking spray.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed, until very light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each in for a full 5 minutes.  This step will take 30 minutes - have patience.

Add the vanilla bean seeds.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, and add by spoonfuls to the batter, just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth out the top.  Bake the cake for 75-90 minutes, until a deep golden brown on top, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  A deep crack on the surface of the crust is normal.  Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then turn cake out onto the rack or a serving plate to cool, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel.

When the cake is nearly cool, set it on a pretty cake pedestal or serving plate.  In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup, lime juice and half the lime zest.  Add just enough warm water, a tiny drizzle at a time, until the glaze is the consistency you want for drizzling over the cake.  Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it run down the sides.  Before it sets, sprinkle with the rest of the lime zest and a small amount of coarse sugar.

Yields 16-20 slices.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen 

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