Lemon Glazed Pound Cake

Lemon Glazed Pound Cake

I cannot find any words to express who my mother was better than my “Brother from Another Mother” Kevin used at my mom’s memorial service.

His words brought the entire chapel to tears, not from sadness but from the realization that he had captured the essence of Vera Mae Lee in his thoughtful tribute.

 

Memories of Vera Mae Lee (Edited Version)
Feb. 14, 2013

Good morning.

I feel so privileged to be able to share a few memories today about my dear neighbor and friend, Vera Mae Lee. Vera and her family moved next door to my families’ home when I was 4 years old – 46 years ago.

I was fortunate to have grown up, playing with Cheryl and Karen, rumbling through Vera and Bill’s home and yard, and having countless lunches in Vera’s kitchen. I think all who knew Vera, knew how good a cook she was.

When I was a sophomore in college, my parents called me home one weekend and told me that they had both been diagnosed with terminal cancers on consecutive days earlier that week. Despite our best efforts, both my mom and dad succumbed to their cancers just months apart.

As a 20 year old single person, I knew the first holiday season after losing my parents would be emotionally brutal. It just so happens that my birthday also falls between Christmas and New Years. On New Years Eve, my 21st birthday, I had lunch with Vera. Just her and me — talking about my parents, but also about how wonderful life was. She knew how to look for the positives in any situation.

Vera’s support never ebbed. Each year, I got a reminder that she was thinking of me…because every year on my birthday, Vera baked me another homemade lemon pound cake. Vera never forgot my birthday…not even one.

I now have two daughters — and getting a homemade birthday cake has become a 30-year family tradition. Every Dec. 31, my daughters wake up and ask “Dad, when is Mrs. Lee going to call you to tell you when you can pick up your cake?” You see, my entire family has grown to love those cakes as much as I do.

After having had a taste of one of those cakes several years ago, my wife Myrna looked at me, smiled and said, “The only thing that comes out of Vera’s kitchen is perfection.” As usual, my wife was right. Vera knew just how much lemon flavoring to add, and just the right amount of sugar to use. She baked her cakes just long enough that they retained the ideal degree of moisture.

But creating “perfection” requires more than culinary skills. There were a few special ingredients that Vera added to her cakes. Less tangible ingredients perhaps then flour, eggs and milk, but even more important to the substance of what she was baking. To each cake, Vera added a few teaspoons of her heart, a few dashes of compassion, a cup or two of support, a few smiles, several warm hugs and always more neighborly love than any traditional recipe called for. Carefully mixed together and baked at the right temperature, those ingredients truly made…perfection.

As I got older, I realized that those birthday cakes were a metaphor for all that is good about humanity. Each of those cakes gave me the comfort of knowing that I have a life-long friend looking in on me, the comfort of knowing that someone is thinking about my well being, and the security of knowing that I had a friend I could always depend on for support. Those were the confections that I truly craved…that satisfied my emotional appetite, that nourished my soul and that warmed my heart. Vera was a tremendous human being.

Vera fought her disease hard and valiantly — and each time I saw her, no matter how poorly she felt nor how much weight she’d lost, she managed to smile and to talk about how she needed to get back on her feet because she had so many things to do. As you might guess, most of those things involved helping others.

Myrna, our children and I, will always be inspired by the size of Vera’s heart, by her character, by her courage, by her optimism, by her graciousness and especially, by her thoughtfulness. I have always believed that the true measure of our lives is the positive impact that we have on others. To Vera, life was always much greater than her own concerns. She strove to brighten the world each day.

I know I am a better, and more thoughtful person, because Vera was my neighbor and my friend.

Thank you.

And now I must continue the tradition, to not only keep my mother’s memory alive but as a tradition for Kevin and I to share with our children. So today, I made Kevin a cake.

 

Recipe: Lemon Glazed Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 pound butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (any fresh lemon juice will work)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 16 cup angel food/pound cake style pan.
  2. In electric mixer cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beat until incorporated. Add flour and milk alternately, ending with the flour. Add extracts, beat well, making sure to scrape down bowl as needed.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan, bake for 1 1/2 hours until pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes, then remove cake from pan.
  4. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to form a glaze, then pour glaze over the cake while still hot.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)



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18 thoughts on “Lemon Glazed Pound Cake”

  1. Pound cake is a dense cake, not at all light and airy like a cake with a leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda. If I could remember more of my food science I could tell you exactly why it does rise, but I believe it is the process of beating the butter so air is incorporated and the eggs.

  2. I cannot see any baking soda or baking powder in this recipe and I’ve read the ingredients on my cake flour, it does not have any either. How does this cake rise without baking soda or baking powder?

  3. I have a friend who sent me a link for St. Patrick’s recipe’s and while I was looking @ the site I saw a link to your site… What a find !!! I Love Your Site !!! You Have Great Recipe’s… I so Loved the story your brother wrote about your Mom… she sounded like such a Kind & Loving Woman… you were so Blessed to have a Woman like her in your life… she will always be in your life & heart… I lost my Mom 27yrs. ago and live in the home she had & also cook dishes she made… she was from Louisiana, so I know the ingredients that are Wonderful like your Mom did… What a Blessing they left us… Keep up the fine work you’re doing… Now that I have found you girl, I will be back often… God Bless You & Yours.

    warmest regards
    Shirley Nanette

  4. We moved into our new home <a month ago and the family is stopping by every weekend to help unpack and see the house. I found your blog last week and made this cake this weekend. Everyone RAVED and I must admit I was EXTREMELY PLEASED with myself. God bless you for sharing this piece of your Mom.

  5. Vera,

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother! There is no doubt that your mother’s memory and a life well lived will carry on through you. This is the first time I have ever been to your blog, and this happened to be the very first post I read. It was a random link for homemade corned beef that got me here, a scroll through and the recipe for lemon glazed pound cake that called my name, and the true gift of sharing that has me here to stay. I now have a use for a bowl of Meyers lemons sitting on my kitchen counter and a wonderful new blog to peruse. Thank you!

  6. Cheryl, I am deeply sorry to hear of your mothers passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Victoria Woods sent our sewing group an e-mail regarding her passing. May God Bless you and your family.

  7. I was hoping you would share this recipe, Cheryl! This cake and Kevin’s words about your mom Vera, reminds me that the world is still filled with love and compassion. I look forward to making this cake in the near future as an act of kindness for someone and to celebrate life and its myriad small mercies.

    Thanxx,
    Nancy

  8. Wait, what?! You can buy oxtails for $2 a pound! Oh, I am so jealous Tim!

    I have never halved the recipe, so I am not sure of the exact pan to recommend. It is a lot of batter, so a 5X9 seems right, but don’t get mad if you need to size up a bit.

    But If you do make the whole cake, it freezes beautifully. Just wrap it nice and tight with plastic wrap, then wrap in foil or put into a freezer bag.

  9. My deepest sympathies to you. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I am a single guy and try to limit my indulgences but this is one recipe I have to try. Can you suggest what I might make this in if I halve the recipe? Would something like a 5×9 loaf pan work? I surely can’t make this whole thing because I know I’ll eat ALL of it. lol.

    Btw, I make your braised oxtails all of the time. The bomb! That’s when I knew I loved you and signed up for your feed. :p My favorite cut of meat now and my favorite recipe to make them. And a local farmer sells me grass-fed tails for $2 a pound.

  10. The cake is amazing, Cheryl. Moist, just the right amount of lemon and sweetness and a touch of a love as well. Your mom would be proud. Thanks so much. Myrna, the girls and me are enjoying it!

  11. Cheryl, this is such a wonderful post and tribute to your mother, your friend Kevin, and to the power of gracious giving. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful memory and recipe.

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