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Lemon Lemon Loaf, a Lemon Pound Cake, and a reminiscence about Sara Lee.

Lemon Lemon Loaf, a Lemon Pound Cake, and a reminiscence about Sara Lee.

There’s something amazingly satisfying about a simple pound cake. 

Sara Lee Schupf, the Real Sara Lee. Wall St. Journal.

Especially when it’s perfectly made, as were these by Andrew.  The ‘crumb’ of the cake gives it a richness and depth of flavor that’s unlike any other cake.  Infused with lemon flavor and enriched with sour cream, this cake then is glazed with lemony icing.  It’s a delight that we never grow tired of.  And it always brings back memories for me of my Advertising years because, at one time, I worked on the Sara Lee Bakery account. And at one time, Sara Lee made a pretty mean pound cake.  That, unfortunately, was before the Butter Police and the accountants got in the way and Sara Lee’s cakes no longer cut it.  You only had to ask Sara Lee herself.  Yes, there was a real Sara Lee.

From the Kitchens of the Real Sara Lee

Sara Lee Schupf, née Lubin, was the daughter of Charles Lubin, a Chicagoan who, with his brother-in-law, bought a chain of neighborhood bakeries in 1935. Charles, wanting to expand their business further, named a cream cheesecake after 8-year-old Sara Lee and changed the name of the company to the Kitchens of Sara Lee.

When I met Sara Lee, the Kitchens of Sara Lee had become the Sara Lee Corporation.

And the Sara Lee Corporation sold everything from Jimmy Dean sausage to Bryan Meats to, well, Sara Lee Baked Goods.  Sara herself was by then the mother of grown children and a well-known and well-respected advocate on behalf of women in science, technology, medicine, and engineering.  I am not quite sure why she allowed herself to become the spokesperson for her eponymous brand.  Lord knows she didn’t exactly lack for this world’s goods.   But as I got to know her, I realized her motives for becoming involved may have had something to do with her disdain for what had been done to the baked goods with her name on them.

“Everybody doesn’t like something but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee”. Except for Sara Lee.

In one of the most memorable campaigns in Advertising history, Sara Lee’s durable TV jingle was accompanied by shots of people enduring all kinds of irritants from bad haircuts to traffic jams, before consoling themselves with a piece of Sara Lee. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iirw147LHkQ.  The real Sara Lee made no bones about it.  She could not believe how, in the ensuing years, in an effort to boost profits, the quality of the cheesecake had plummeted, the croissant had been morphed into something that wasn’t recognizable to her, and how, in an effort to cut costs, butter had been reduced drastically from Sara Lee Pound Cake.  Her complaints, however, fell on deaf corporate ears. So she took the money, and the rather expensive wardrobe from our shoots and ran.

I haven’t tasted a Sara Lee cake in years

Then again, when you’ve got Andrew, why exactly would you?  Here’s the recipe for a superb Lemon pound cake that the Butter police can keep their paws off.  And wouldn’t you know it, it’s from two other refugees from Advertising, the boys at “Baked”, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  To learn about them just click on one of the links for their recipes which come right after this one.

Lemon Lemon Loaf

October 4, 2021
: Makes 2 Loasves
: 30 min
: Easy

Infused with lemon flavor and enriched with sour cream, this luscious pound cake is glazed with a lemon-y icing.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Lemon Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • For the Lemon Syrup
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • For the Lemon Glaze
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, or more if needed
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the Lemon Cakes:
  • Step 2 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the sides and bottom of a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.
  • Step 3 Sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  • Step 4 Put the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until combined. With the motor running, drizzle the butter in through the feed tube. Add the sour cream and vanilla and pulse until combined.
  • Step 5 Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  • Step 6 Sprinkle the flour mixture, one third at a time, folding gently after each addition until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • Step 7 Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F., and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Step 8 Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.
  • Step 9 To make the Lemon Syrup:
  • Step 10 In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Step 11 Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and invert the loaves onto the pan.
  • Step 12 Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves.
  • Step 13 Brush the tops and sides of the loaves with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cakes cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
  • Step 14 (The soaked but unglazed loaves will keep, wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and frozen, for up to 6 weeks.)
  • Step 15 To make the Lemon Glaze
  • Step 16 In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. If the mixture is too stiff, add up to another 2 tablespoons lemon juice and whisk again, adding small amounts of lemon juice and/or confectioners’ sugar until you get the right consistency. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.
  • Step 17 The glazed loaves will keep for up to 3 days, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

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