Citrus Butter Loaf Cake Recipe

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Johnny Iuzzini is a James Beard Award-winning pastry chef and author of two cookbooks: Dessert FourPlay and the new Sugar Rush. (Fun fact: He’s also an avid motorcyclist.) All week long, Yahoo Food will be sharing Iuzzini’s recipes, plus an interview with the man Forbes magazine calls one of the ”10 Most Influential Pastry Chefs in America.” 


Photo: Michael Spain-Smith

Citrus Butter Loaf Cake
Makes one 41⁄2 × 81⁄2-inch loaf cake (or one 9-inch round cake); serves 8 to 10

This is the cake I like to have hanging around for a bite with morning coffee or an afternoon snack. It is dense, rich, and better than any store-bought pound cake. It is also great if you toast up a slice in a pan and serve it with fresh, lightly stewed, or caramelized fruit.

1⁄2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the pan (226 g)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan (250 g)
1 1⁄2 cups sugar (300 g)
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Grated zest of 1 orange
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature (45 g)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (45 g)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (45 g)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder (6 g)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (4 g)

2 tablespoons buttermilk (30 g)
1 tablespoon honey (20 g)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour a 41⁄2 × 81⁄2-inch loaf pan.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, toss the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest together (1) until the butter is coated (2). Attach the bowl to the mixer with the paddle and beat on medium speed until it is homogenous and no lumps of butter remain, 5 minutes (3). Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions (4).

Meanwhile, stir together the buttermilk, lemon juice, and orange juice. Sift together the 2 cups (250 g) flour and the baking powder in a bowl and sprinkle the salt over the top. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the dry (5).

Stop the mixer to scrape down the bowl several times and mix just until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula (6), and bake for 15 minutes. (For a 9-inch cake, bake at 375°F for 40 minutes, brush with glaze, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.)

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the thickest part comes out clean. Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, to make the glaze, in a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and honey until combined. When the cake is done, brush the glaze evenly over the surface and return the cake to the oven; bake for 5 minutes longer. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a rack before inverting and slicing to serve.

Excerpted from Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking by Johnny Iuzzini with Wes Martin (Clarkson Potter, 2014). 

The holidays and citrusy things, they go together:

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Tangy Lemon Squares

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Do you like citrus in your sweets?