Sunday, January 04, 2015

Downton Season 5 begins TONIGHT!

No one is more excited than I am about the new season of Downton Abbey airing on PBS tonight.  I have adored this beautiful program from the very beginning and have enjoyed seeing its popularity grow.  After a year-long hibernation I am beyond ready to feast my eyes on gorgeous costumes and sets, feast my ears on beautiful accents and witty comments, and feast my taste buds on a variety of British and period foods while viewing each carefully crafted episode.

I initially questioned whether or not I wanted to bake for Downton night.  I even posted my conundrum on social media and there were a number of people who let me know I couldn't skip out... I had to continue my journey into trying recipes enjoyed on the other side of the pond.  I quickly began Googling recipes and came across a great cache of new culinary territory begging to be explored.  I am sure Daisy would be glad I am giving it another go.

To prepare for episode one, I came across a Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake posted in Fine Cooking.  I have never made a pound cake but rather liked the idea of beginning simply. Also, I received fresh California lemons from some members of the church and wanted to use them in something special.  The two are also Downton fans and are currently vacationing in London. They plan to catch up on the program when they return and were delighted to learn how their lemons would be put to use.

Here is my take on the Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake.


1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 C buttermilk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon
4 Tbsp confectioner's sugar


Whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until it becomes pale. Add sugar and beat until fluffy.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and add eggs one at a time. Mix until well incorporated.

Add half of the flour mixture and blend until just combined.

Add half of the liquid mixture (buttermilk, lemon juice from 1/2 lemon, vanilla) and mix until just combined.

Add 1/2 of the remaining dry and mix as before, followed by the remaining liquid and mixing as before.  Finally, add the last 1/2 of dry and mix until just blended.  Add lemon zest and mix into the batter by hand.

Scrape the batter into a prepared 8x5 inch loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes.  The cake should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few crumbs clinging to it.

Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  As it cools, prepare the glaze by thoroughly mixing the juice of 1 lemon with powdered sugar.

After 10 minutes, carefully remove the cake from the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze onto the warm cake.

Continue cooling completely on the wire rack.  Serve with whipped cream, berries or even ice cream.  The result is a lovely moist cake with a sweet yet tart glaze.  A perfect not-to-sweet accompaniment to a cup of piping hot tea.  Time for Downton!

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