This is a great cake. It is moist, not-too-sweet, and has a little kick at the end of each bite that I really love. I’ll never forget that first bite, nice, warm, moist and pound-cakey, followed by this wonderful lightly spiced tang—so brilliant—I wish I’d thought of it! Alas, it is adapted from Maida Heater’s great recipe—her concoctions are just about foolproof and I really appreciate her refined touch as a baker. This keeps well on the counter and is equally delicious with a cup of coffee in the morning, with tea in the afternoon or with a small glass of Vin Santo after dinner.
White Pepper and Ginger Lemon Cake
Two large lemons (finely grate the rind of both and put into a small bowl, and then juice them both into a measuring cup)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
Place an oven rack in the bottom third position of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a bundt pan and then dust it with fine dry bread crumbs (pat out extra crumbs). In a small bowl, mix together the lemon rind, the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (which you can measure out of the cup—the rest of the juice will be used for the glaze) and the grated ginger and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pepper and set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and continue to beat for another minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after adding each one until well incorporated. On low speed, add the sifted ingredients in three additions alternately with the buttermilk in two additions. Remove from the mixer and stir in the lemon and ginger mixture. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and tap firmly on the counter to settle the batter (it will be thick). Bake for 1 hour (or a bit longer if needed) until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving platter and with a pastry brush, brush the lemon glaze all over the cake.
While the cake is baking, combine ½ cup sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice and let it stand. Just before glazing, stir the mixture well.