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A lofty and light cake with a complex citrus flavor
Milk Street Bowtie Lemon-Buttermilk Pound Cake

Lemon-Buttermilk Pound Cake

1½ hours 30 minutes active

Free

To lighten traditionally dense pound cake, we separated the eggs, a trick we learned from Kathryn King of Atlanta’s Aria restaurant. Beating the whites resulted in a texture reminiscent of angel food cake, while the yolks and butter preserved the rich pound cake flavor. Baking soda made the cake even lighter, and a combination of lemon zest and juice produced a more complex citrus flavor. Begin checking the cake for doneness after 40 minutes and check frequently thereafter. At Aria, slices of the cake are buttered, toasted and served with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

13  tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, divided
433 grams (2 cups plus 3 tablespoons) white sugar, plus extra, divided
312 grams (2¾ cups) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
5 large eggs, separated
Ingredients
  • 13

     tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, divided

  • 433

    grams (2 cups plus 3 tablespoons) white sugar, plus extra, divided

  • 312

    grams (2¾ cups) cake flour

  • ½

    teaspoon baking soda

  • ½

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾

    cup buttermilk

  • 2

    tablespoons grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

  • 5

    large eggs, separated

Directions
  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 325ºF with a rack in the middle position. Rub 1 tablespoon of the butter evenly over the pan, then use a pastry brush to ensure it gets into all corners. Sprinkle in a bit of sugar, then turn the pan to evenly coats all surfaces.
    See Demo
  2. 02
    In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and lemon juice; set aside.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high until light and foamy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly sprinkle in 3 tablespoons of the sugar and continue to whip until the whites are thick and glossy and hold soft peaks, about 1 minute. Transfer the whites to a bowl and set aside, then add the remaining 2 cups of sugar and the lemon zest to the stand mixer's bowl.
    See Demo
  4. 04
    Using the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and zest on low until the sugar appears moistened and begins to clump, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 12 tablespoons of butter and mix on medium-low until the mixture is cohesive, then increase the mixer to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer to low and add the yolks, one at a time, mixing after each.
    See Demo
  5. 05
    Add a third of the flour mixture, then mix on low. Add half of the buttermilk mixture, then mix again. Repeat the process of adding and mixing, ending with the final third of flour. Use a silicone spatula to fold ⅓ of the whipped egg whites into the batter until combined, then gently fold in the remaining whites until barely combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top.
    See Demo
  6. 06
    Bake until golden brown and bounces back when gently pressed, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.
    See Demo
    Bake, cool, and serve
Tip: Don’t overbeat the whites. They should appear smooth and glossy, with gentle peaks that curl back on themselves.
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Lemon-Buttermilk Pound Cake

Get Ready to Cook

8

Servings

1½ hours

30 minutes active

Tip

Don’t overbeat the whites. They should appear smooth and glossy, with gentle peaks that curl back on themselves.

Ingredients
  • 13

     tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, divided

  • 433

    grams (2 cups plus 3 tablespoons) white sugar, plus extra, divided

  • 312

    grams (2¾ cups) cake flour

  • ½

    teaspoon baking soda

  • ½

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾

    cup buttermilk

  • 2

    tablespoons grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

  • 5

    large eggs, separated

Step 1 of 6

Coat the pan with butter and sugar

1
tablespoon salted butter
sugar, as needed

Heat the oven to 325ºF with a rack in the middle position. Rub 1 tablespoon of the butter evenly over the pan, then use a pastry brush to ensure it gets into all corners. Sprinkle in a bit of sugar, then turn the pan to evenly coats all surfaces.

Step 2 of 6

Whisk the flour mixture and combine the buttermilk and lemon juice

312
grams (2¾ cups) cake flour
½
teaspoon baking soda
½
teaspoon kosher salt
¾
cup buttermilk
3
tablespoons lemon juice

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and lemon juice; set aside.

Step 3 of 6

Whip the egg whites

5
egg whites
433
grams (2 cups plus 3 tablespoons) white sugar
2
tablespoons grated lemon zest

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high until light and foamy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly sprinkle in 3 tablespoons of the sugar and continue to whip until the whites are thick and glossy and hold soft peaks, about 1 minute.


Transfer the whites to a bowl and set aside, then add the remaining 2 cups of sugar and the lemon zest to the stand mixer's bowl.

Step 4 of 6

Add the butter and egg yolks

12
tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
5
egg yolks

Using the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and zest on low until the sugar appears moistened and begins to clump, about 1 minute.


Add the remaining 12 tablespoons of butter and mix on medium-low until the mixture is cohesive, then increase the mixer to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer to low and add the yolks, one at a time, mixing after each.

Step 5 of 6

Mix and fold in the egg whites

Add a third of the flour mixture, then mix on low. Add half of the buttermilk mixture, then mix again. Repeat the process of adding and mixing, ending with the final third of flour.


Use a silicone spatula to fold ⅓ of the whipped egg whites into the batter until combined, then gently fold in the remaining whites until barely combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Step 6 of 6

Bake, cool, and serve

Bake until golden brown and bounces back when gently pressed, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.

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