I have tried and tried numerous recipes for lemon pound cake. None of them taste very lemony. I tried adding extra lemons n lemon extract but no real difference. The only thing to make it taste like lemon is the glaze. What am I doing wrong?
The 'lemony' flavour in a lemon cake is from the volatile oils which are present in the fruit's zest,(mainly nerol, limonene and citral). I would'nt advise adding actual lemon juice to the cake as it will disrupt the ratios in the cake recipe and ususally the tart, zingy flavour gets lost anyway after baking. To get a really lemony flavour whilst still using a pound cake recipe (using the creaming method) there are several things which would enhance the lemon flavour:
- Adding finely grated lemon zest to the sugar, then blitzing with a blender (to release the oils) and leaving to infuse. The sugar is simply a medium to infuse into
- Melting the butter (using it as a 'quasi' solvent) and adding it to some more lemon zest to infuse. Then once cooled use it as per the recipe requires.
- Add lemon extract too (we're trying to get as much flavour as possible into the cake!)
And if all else fails, you can always soak the cake in a lovely tangy lemon syrup and may be top it off with some lemony cream cheese frosting!
I know of three ways to add extra lemon flavor to recipes:
Add lemon pudding like this copycat recipe for Starbuck's lemon poundcake:
Starbucks Iced Lemon Pound Cake Copycat Recipe
Use frozen lemonade concentrate instead of lemon juice
as Marge suggested, add grated lemon rind. Fresh is good, dried is more intense.
My mother's cherished lemon-nut bread recipe, which uses dried grated lemon peel, actually requires the bread to be wrapped and refrigerated overnight to "cure" the flavors after it is baked.
Lemon emulsion is especially designed for baking as it won't "bake out" like a juice or flavoring. If you are using an Lemon Extract, be sure it is all natural and has no added sweetener, like corn syrup. I found baking emulsions on line from a company called Lorann Professional Kitchen and the size was 4 oz....not a pint or quart like most bakery supply
Here are a couple of ideas:
- Add some limoncello to the batter
- After baking and initial cooling: Apply a lemon sugar syrup. Use a skewer to make holes in the cake. Pour over the lemon syrup.
- Use lemon curd as a topping
The strength of that lemon twang comes from the essential oils of the lemon and the acid in the lemon (which is why the icing is sooooo GREAT!). Unfortunately the acid will all be reacted and evaporated out by the time you finish baking anything. However, the oils will not have evaporated or reacted with the air.
The oils predominantly come from the zest or skin. The most effective way to get the strongest lemony flavour in baking will be to use a juicer to completely strip all the oils out of the entire lemon, then boil it down to a thick syrup. The skin is very bitter, but with some sugar you should be able to bring out a great tangy lemon flavour. Remember, chocolate comes from a very bitter substance too but we love eating it all the time! =D
You will end up with a very intense lemon syrup for use in various baking. Make sure to practice your baking mixtures a couple times to get the consistencies correct. The thickness of the syrup should help a lot not to water down any recipe you are following, rather than just adding lemon juice (which, like most fresh produce, has heaps of water in it).