There's something comforting about poundcake, especially one with a glaze. Before I got my mixer, I had to be creative to get around creaming the butter. There is no satisfactory way to do this by hand. I found a method in a book by Jacques Torres where, rather than creaming the butter, you beat the eggs into a ribbon and added melted butter afterwards. This became my standard pre-mixer method, and I had great results. The other day, as I was perusing Claudia Fleming's amazing The Last Course, I noticed that she too used this method for her poundcake. I had to try it with this flavour combination.
The cakes are so delicate and fine-crumbed, with a subtle lemon lavender finish. The glaze adds an extra hint of flavour, and makes the crust a sticky, sweet-sour treat. I love lavender. I always have some in my garden. Somehow it survived through a winter in our garden and came back last year, like the perennial it's supposed to be. I have my fingers crossed for this year. I found some lovely dried lavender flowers in a health food store whose colour was so extraordinary I had to buy it. I think that's what made these cakes extra good.
1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
4 Tbsp. dried lavender
5 large eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp. cake flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. strained lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5" loaf pan, or many miniature ones.
Melt butter with 1 Tbsp. of lavender. Let steep 10 min., then strain. Add vanilla.
Whip eggs and 1 c. sugar until pale and thick. Sift flour and salt together in a bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour to the eggs, fold to combine. Add another 1/3, fold, add the final 1/3 with lemon zest. Mix 1 c. of this batter with the melted butter and whip until well combined. Add butter mixture to rest of the batter and fold to combine. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake until golden and firm.
Meanwhile, simmer remaining 1/2 c. sugar with 1/4 c. water, 3 Tbsp. lavender, and lemon juice, stirring until sugar dissolves. Strain. Once poundcake is done, set it on a rack and pierce the surface with a skewer. Brush syrup on the top, letting it cool for 10 min. afterwards. Remove loaf from pan and brush bottom and sides with syrup, then pour the rest on the top. Delicious.