There's nothing quite like a warm slice of buttery-rich pound cake fresh from the oven. There's something even more delectable about the sweet stream of butter that percolates and settles across the top of the cake. And while pound cake is a classic American dessert, we wanted to explore how classic Thai flavors would elevate this much beloved treat. Enter Lemongrass Pound Cake and Thai Coffee Caramel.
After playing with several blends of Thai spices and herbs, we hit the jackpot with lemongrass, cardamon and coffee. Normally strong flavors, the richness of the poundcake rounds out the strong edges and settles all the flavors into a soft layered story.
First, the lemongrass fills your mouth, so fresh and airy. Then it gives way to the warmth of the cardamon, finally leaving behind the sweet, milky coffee.
Now the magic any pound cake is making sure you blend your ingredients in the right order, but you don't over blend. If you don't have a food processor and blender will do the trick. You want full control as you bring your wet ingredients together.
Next, lemongrass is highly fibrous, and not the juiciest of herbs. We used a juicer to most out of the four lemongrass stalks. It yielded about five tablespoons of juice, which was more than enough.
Remove the cardamon shell, removes the seeds and grind with a mortar and pestle. Of course, you can just cardamon powder, but if that container's be sitting in the back of the pantry for more than a few months...tsk tsk. Toss it out and get some fresh cardamom. I promise, the flavors will be worth it.
Katherine's Take: My mother's favorite dessert ever is Entenmann's Pound Cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. So to me, a pound cake is not a pound cake, unless it has that buttery stream right down the middle. I told Eddie this would have to be the standard to hold to. And much to my delight, as I fixated on checking the cake in the oven, I saw it - the butter percolating to the top and browning ever so slightly.
As soon as it cooled, we tested a plain slice and I had to restrain myself. If you want to forgo the Thai coffee caramel, an alternative would be a good vanilla ice cream. You'll make my mom proud.
Questions and Answers
- If I can't find lemongrass, can I use lemons?
- Yes, but be sure to micro fine or zest only the yellow rind. I noticed if you have any white rinds it tends to be a bit bitter, so lightly micro or zest your lemons. Also keep in mind you will have to increase the amount, for this recipe I calculated 10 lemons zested.
- How do I prevent the cake from sticking to the pan?
- Be sure to follow the recipe, it ensures that the cake wont stick to the pan. I know the smell and look of a cake straight out of the oven is enticing but you must let the cake rest and collect its thoughts before you go diving into it like a kid. Patience is the key to cooking.
- How long can I store the cake?
- If you plastic wrap the cake 2 days after, it should keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days , after that I suggest making another one. Remember fresh is always better. These are things we all need to remember.
Lemongrass pound cake, with a Thai coffee caramel.
- 4 stalks lemongrass
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 whole large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Thai coffee caramel
- 1 cup espresso coffee
- 1/2 cup caramel
- 4 pods cardamom
- On 350 degrees adjust the cake rack in the middle section of your oven. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 cake pan with softened butter. Dust with all purpose flour and tap out excess.
- In a medium bowl add 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In medium pot add 1/2 cup butter melt with 4 stalks lemongrass chopped and crushed on low heat, let steep for 1 hour, strain through fine china cap. be sure to extract as much lemongrass flavor as possible.
- In food processor pulse sugar and zest about 5 pulses should do it. Add lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla, process 5 seconds. While running slowly add remaining melted butter, no longer than 20 seconds.
- Transfer mix to large bowl and sift the rest of the flour in 3 additions whisking gently after each one.
- Pour mixture into pan and bake for 15 minutes then reducing heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 35 minutes rotating half way through.
- When done test with tooth pick, and let rest in pan for 10 minutes. then transfer to wire rack and let cool for at least another hour.
- Make 1 cup espresso, reduce on low heat by half.
- Add half cup caramel. simmer on low heat 5 minutes.
- In a Pestle and Mortar remove seeds from Cardamon Podsand grind until fine dust. Stir into espresso and caramel.