Culinary snob that I am, I have always felt that homemade is better than commercially made. Chicken soup, pasta, stir-fried anything, grilled steaks, you name it – it’s always better at home. One of the few exceptions in my view is Starbuck’s Lemon Pound Cake – I have always loved their moist, flavorful version. A tad too sweet perhaps but the lemony flavor and moist texture are divine. There are many versions of their “secret” recipe on the web but I’m afraid most miss the mark. I’ve tried and tried to duplicate their formula to no avail, coming up with tasty but not quite right versions. Most tries have failed in the flavor and moistness categories. I also have found the glaze/frosting to be a challenging component. One I like is very simple, the other is far richer but maybe not quite like the original.
At last I believe that I have come up with a version that hits all of the points that makes Starbuck’s version so good namely: flavor, texture, moistness, and appearance. This cake contains sour cream for moisture and a little tang, lots of lemon zest, and a large quantity of lemon extract (extract, not juice, not oil). The recipe also calls for a little vegetable oil and I used grape seed oil rather than my usual canola because I feel grape seed imparts virtually no oily flavors and has the benefit of being the #1 recommended oil by Bon Appétit magazine.
And here’s a note on sour cream. If you look at the ingredients on the cartons of sour cream you will often find a scary list of additives and preservatives. I prefer Daisy brand sour cream – ingredients: cream. And if you can find it, Wallaby Organic brand European Style is another excellent choice. I used the Wallaby brand in this cake.
Here is the recipe for my version of Starbuck’s Lemon Pound Cake. The simple glaze the recipe recommends is my preferred way to finish the cake and as you can see I don’t apply as much as Starbuck’s does. Another really tasty and richer Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting, made with cream cheese and butter can be found here. I suggest cutting this recipe in half – you don’t need the full amount for this cake.