Grapefruit and lemon trees grew in our yard when I was growing up. As a kid, the fragrance of our blooming citrus trees stopped me in my tracks as I inhaled the sweet aroma of spring; today the pleasant, scent of citrus transports me back to a time of warm spring afternoons where neighborhood kids played chase until dark. My brother and I ate our homegrown grapefruit with a thick layer of sugar on top. The sugar helped mask the bitter taste of the fruit. As an adult I learned that citrus trees need an average temperature of 78˚to bear sweet fruit. Jacksonville is just a little north of the optimal growing region.
To enhance and improve a dish just add citrus. An arugula salad with walnuts, goat cheese and blood orange is luscious. A classic mojito is a refreshing summer lime drink that conjurers up Ybor City and Cuban cigars. But the real powerhouse of flavor is the lemon. Lemon is a perfect accent to chicken or fish. If you want something sweet mix up a pitcher of lemonade or if you don't want the calories use lemon to make the perfect body scrub.
My favorite use for lemon is in pound cake. The hint of tart enlivens the flavor of a pound cake without overwhelming it. And the smell while baking is glorious...it makes the whole world a hopeful place. Depending on the climate, lemon trees will bloom and bear fruit multiple times a years....Fabulous! Lemon pound cake year round. I made this scrumptious Lemon Pound Cake this past weekend. I wanted to show you the cake sliced and nicely arranged on a plate but...we ate it. We had family over and before I could save a piece for the camera, the cake was gone. You must take me at my word that it looked as good on the inside as on the outside.
Lemon Pound Cake
3 sticks of butter
1 8 oz. package of regular cream cheese
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
zest from one lemon
3 cups sugar
3 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoon of lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325˚
Flour and grease a tube pan
1. Bring butter, cream cheese and eggs to room temperature.
2. Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each egg.
4. Add lemon and zest and mix well.
5. Mix flour and salt together; add to liquid mix.
6. Add vanilla and mix.
7. Pour in to pan.
8. Bake for 90 minutes or until toothpick come out clean.
1. Whisk together the confectioner's sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and buttermilk.
2. Allow the glaze to sit until the cake is fully cooled, then drizzle over the top of the cake. I didn't let the cake cool completely; while the cake still tasted great, I don't think it was as "pretty" as it could have been if I hadn't rushed the process.
**Buttermilk is a difficult ingredient to keep and use up. To make your own buttermilk substitute measure out a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and put it into a measuring cup. Add enough milk to measure up to the one-cup line. Wait 5-minutes and you are good to go.