This Lemon Earl Grey Pound Cake is moist and buttery with a hint of lemon and tea. It’s excellent for your breakfast craving or dessert satisfaction.
Growing up, my mom bought us pound cake. Nothing fancy, it’s just the one in a tin from the freezer, Sara Lee. That warm slice of pound cake from microwave was buttery and heavenly, especially for breakfast. As recent as last year, I bought Sara Lee pound cake.
A few weeks ago, one of my blogger friend, Becca from Cooking Therapy posted a Matcha Pound Cake recipe. Her pound cake looks amazing with a stunning crack and she told me that I should check out Sohla El-Waylly’s Go-To Vanilla Pound Cake video for good tips. I did and I immediately wanted to make one. It’s about time to make my own pound cake.
Although I love a classic pound cake, I want do something a little different. My in-laws gave us a bag of lemons from their yard. And I have some earl grey tea at home. Let’s just put all the flavors together. It sure works!
This moist buttery pound cake is flavored with lemon zest and earl grey tea leaves. It has a subtle lemon and tea flavors. Not overly strong, but just enough that you can taste it.
The pound cake batter is pretty basic, but one important tip from Sohla is to create emulsion. It means to make things really well and do it slowly. First, beat the butter and sugar for a much longer time than you usually would, about 8 minutes. The butter turned to a very pale color and almost white. It was also very fluffy as well. To ensure everything is fully mixed, scarp the paddle of the mixer and the sides of the mixing bowl really well. And do this repeatedly for many times.
Next, add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time. So things are slowly added to the batter and keeping everything emulsify. Then, added the sour cream and flour alternatively. Before adding those in, I stirred in lemon zest in the sour cream and whisked in tea leaves into the flour. Do not overmix.
Transferred the batter to a loaf pan. Swirl the batter with an offset spatula to remove air pockets. Bang the loaf pan on counter top a couple times to ensure air pockets are gone. Smooth the top. Here is another trick: run a wet butter knife down the center of the batter. That will help the cake to crack at the center when baking. Magical!
For the tea leaves, I don’t have a spice grinder, so I put them in a small Ziploc bag. Sealed it and hit it with a rolling pin to break the tea leaves into smaller pieces. Earl grey powder is not what I’m going for, it should be more like the size of coarse grind pepper. I love seeing the tiny spots of tea all over the cake. It’s beautiful!
Give this pound cake a try! It freezes really well and you can have it anytime you want, breakfast, snack or dessert. Enjoy!
Lemon Earl Grey Pound Cake
- 2 tablespoons loose earl grey tea leaves
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (196 grams)(at room temperature)
- 1¼ cups sugar (250 grams)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 large egg yolk (at room temperature)
- ½ cup sour cream (at room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour (187 grams)
- For the earl grey tea leaves, use a spice grinder or food processor to break up the large leaves and coarsely grind into smaller pieces (not powder). If not, you can also put the leaves in a Ziploc bag. Zip the bag and hit with a rolling pin to break them into smaller pieces.
- Place the oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (177˚C). Grease a loaf pan (9×5-inch) thoroughly with butter.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until very pale, light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Scrap down the paddle and bowl. With mixer on medium-high speed, add eggs and egg yolk one at a time, scrapping down the paddle and bowl after each time.
- In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla extract until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour and tea leaves.
- Back to the mixer, add half of the sour cream into the batter. Mix on medium-low speed, about 15 seconds. Add half of the flour and mix for another 15 seconds. Add the rest of the sour cream and mix for 15 seconds. Add the flour and mix again 15 more seconds. Finish mixing the batter with a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and roughly smooth the top. Swirl the batter with a butter knife or offset spatula to remove air pockets. Bang the loaf pan on the counter a couple times to remove air pockets. Smooth the top once again. Wash a butter knife under tap water to wet both sides, then run it into the center of the loaf cake lengthwise (about 1-inch deep into the cake), which will help to create a beautiful crack in the middle.
- Bake in the oven until dark golden brown with a nice crack and the cake is set when press gently on top, about 60 – 70 minutes. Since the cake is very moist, it’s ok to overbake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a butter knife or offset spatula. Carefully invert the pound cake onto a towel on top of the wire rack. Remove the pan, flip the cake back and place on the rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.
- Make sure the butter, eggs and sour cream are all at room temperature before you start. I usually take the butter and eggs out in the morning, and the sour cream 2 hours before, then I bake in the afternoon.
- When choosing a baking pan, pick light metal. Dark metal absorbs and distributes heat much faster, so the cake could easily get burnt or too dark before it’s done cooking.
- The earl grey I used is tea sachets from Harney & Sons. Although it’s not loose tea leaves, they’re not too fine either. If you have loose tea leaves, use that. If not, get better quality tea.
- When baking, the middle crack may seem to disappear. Don’t panic, it will come back, but a lot later than you expect.
- For storage, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and keep at the counter for up to one week or freeze for up to 3 months.