Wednesday 15 December 2021

Lemon Poundcake With Candied Pineapple And Crystallized Ginger

In mid-November, British Columbia was hit by a series of rainstorms that Environment Canada described as "atmospheric rivers." They brought so much rain that catastrophic flooding and mudslides ensued, driving thousands of people from their homes and damaging highways and railways so severely that southwestern BC (where I live) was cut off from the rest of Canada.  Most people have returned to their homes but the damage to infrastructure is going to take months to repair. 

One highway connecting the affected areas to the rest of the country has now been re-opened, but only to essential travel.  It's a treacherous drive, still prone to flooding, with entire lanes of highway missing; sloughed off into canyons, washed away by rivers, or buried under tons of mud and stone and the journey is now complicated by snowfall and the potential for avalanches. The drivers who make the trip are heroes in this story. 

Because of the limited traffic, essentials are being given transport priority and, as much as we all love our Christmas treats, seasonal baking ingredients don't rank high on the list.  Some things, including candied and glace fruits and certain spices, have disappeared entirely from grocery store shelves.  

I had the good fortune to have done my big holiday shop just before the storms but, still, there were some things I forgot to buy and now I'm now having to do without them.  If it isn't in my pantry, it won't be on my table this Christmas.

Two things I do have on hand (because I like them a lot and try to keep them in my pantry year 'round) are candied pineapple and crystallized ginger. While not a typical holiday combination, both are included in many seasonal recipes so I decided to make something that paired them. This poundcake is what I came up with.

This cake is cerainly not the prettiest girl at the dance but she's probably the one you'd take home to Mom. Substantial in texture, bright with the flavours of lemon, pineapple, and ginger, and blessed with a comparatively long shelf life, this recipe's a winner. It freezes beautifully too.

To make this cake you'll need:

  • 1-1/2 cups each finely diced candied pineapple and crystallized ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon each grated lemon zest and lemon extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Butter and flour two 8-/12 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch loaf pans or one 10-inch bundt pan.

Cut the candied pineapple and crystallized ginger into a fine dice; 1/4 inch or smaller.

Put the eggs in a bowl and pour hot tap water over them. Let them stand for several minutes to warm gently.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl, then stir them well with a fork to ensure they're evenly mixed. 

Add in the candied pineapple and crystallized ginger and stir again so the fruit is coated with the flour mixture.

Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat it until it's smooth and creamy.

Slowly add in the sugar, beating constantly until smooth and well blended.  

Add the eggs all at once and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. 

Add about half the flour mixture to the bowl and beat until well blended.

Stir the lemon zest and lemon extract into the buttermilk, then beat half the buttermilk into the batter.

Add in the remaining flour and buttermilk mixtures and beat until the batter is well blended.  

Pour the batter into the prpared pans and bake at 325F until a skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle of  cake comes out clean.  This can take between 1 and 1-1/2 hours.

The cake will brown quite a bit around the edges.  If it's becoming too browned for your taste, turn the oven off towards the end of the cooking time and let the cake finish cooking in the residual heat.

Put the cake pans on a wire rack and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before turning the cakes out.  Allow the cakes to cool completely before slicing them.

As you can see from my photo, I like to serve this cake with marmalade. It's a lovely accompaniment to afternoon tea.  It's also good toasted and then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or lemon or orange sorbet. If you want to get fancy about it, you can drizzle the ice cream or sorbet with a little Grand Marnier or Triple Sec.

Enjoy. 😊

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