These past few months, I have spent a lot (I mean, a lot–like, I-am-sorry-but-I-feel-preternaturally-compelled-to-word-vomit-to-you-guys a lot) of time talking about my upcoming exams. So today, let’s talk friends and the best pound cake you’ve never met instead.
To begin with my friends: As the weeks wear on and THE date creeps closer, I have noticed an exponential amount of tiptoeing from my friends and family. In my book, there have only ever been four reasons you would have to tiptoe around someone:
1. The Guilt: You are not supposed to be wherever you are at the moment you are tiptoeing–in which case, #shamingsession.
2. The Terror: You are afraid whomever it is around whom you are tiptoeing is going to explode at the any second. KABLOOIE!
3. The Sympathy: You are at someone’s bedside.
4. The Impending Stardom: You are practicing for your lead role in an upcoming show of “Swan Lake.” Ballerina feet, ladies!
Now, I know it is not due to the fact that they are practicing to become world-famous ballerinas, because a) they can’t ALL be leads in Swan Lake, and b) I have not seen so much as a frill of a tutu on any of their persons. Nor can the tiptoeing be attributed to a sympathy-induced bedside manner, because last I checked (granted, this was a few hours ago) I still have a pulse. And finally, I am almost certain that they cannot all be tiptoeing out of guilt, because I have not been lurking around any shady street corners or drug stores lately. Or at least none I’m going to fess up to here.
So this leaves us with the inevitable truth: I am a ticking time bomb and my friends are afraid of the Big Kablooie. Right?
^ It’s because of that.
My friend and I recently had the following conversation (and yes, I do actually converse like this when I’m really really really tired–and yes, you should all encourage my friend to become the next A.A. Milne):
I thought this post and these quotes would be the perfect place to publicly declare that my friends are Piglets to my Pooh. They are the strawberry to my lemon pound cake and, to be completely honest, you would probably be reading a lot more crazy stuff (Crazy? I love crazy!<–kinda like that) if they weren’t around to keep me grounded. So if you guys are reading this (and I know you are!), stop being sneaky this one time and leave a comment below before you go back to your tiptoeing so I can APPRECIATE YOU RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW <3
It has taken eight months, a whole series of events, and unexpected happiness from various little corners of my life for the truth to hit me with the full force of the giant meteor that killed the dinosaurs. Bigger. Valentine’s Day comes once a year–an exam like this might come once in a lifetime–but friends really, honestly, and truly are forever. And even as I make out the faint rustle of the tiptoers all around me, taking care lest they disturb me from the latest writing frenzy that has possessed my flying hand, I can hear their silent cheers of ‘Rah! Rah!’ rising up in proud defiance of a world whose limits seem at every moment to close in on me, and find they cannot.
And this finally, finally brings me back to this pound cake I promised I would tell you about.
I made loaves upon loaves of this pound cake to share with my friends and to show them how much I appreciate everything they do, from tiptoeing to caterwauling to cheering to reading my blog. They hands down loved it. This cheery lemon pound cake is everything the title/photos say and more: possibly the creamiest, butteriest, moistest pound cake I have ever made. Everything from the melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese in the batter to the fluffiness of the eggs and sugar, as well as the brightness of the lemon and the tanginess of the strawberry jam, make this the ultimate sweet treat to show someone you love them, whether it’s for Valentine’s Day or Friends Day (which is every day in my book!).
Buttery, Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake
Yield: Two 9×5-inch loaves, OR One 10-inch tube pan
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (reduced fat or regular), softened
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 3 cups white sugar
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional but highly recommended)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cup strawberry (or raspberry) jam, warmed in the microwave
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. (Note: You may also use one 10-inch tube pan, but you will need to carefully increase your baking time in Step 7.)
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until very smooth.
- Beat in sugar until very fluffy and pale–I beat it vigorously for a good five minutes by hand to get that great creamy pound cake crumb!
- Mix in eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Carefully mix in flour until just incorporated.
- Pour one-fourth of your batter into one of the prepared 9×5-inch loaf pans. Pour 2/3 cup warmed strawberry preserves in an even layer over this batter, then top the preserves with another one-fourth of your pound cake batter. Repeat with second loaf pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, possibly with little crumbs sticking to it. Small crumbs (not raw batter!) are great! They indicate that your cake is baked through but not overbaked. Always err on the side of a little underbakedness. At this point, remove your cake from the oven and allow it to cool on the stovetop for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely.
- When your pound cake has cooled completely, top with lemon vanilla glaze (recipe below).
Lemon Vanilla Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla soy milk or regular milk or vanilla/plain substitute milks of any kind
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
- Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Pour over cooled pound cake and allow to harden completely before cutting and serving. Enjoy!