Pound cakes are one the purest cakes, relying solely on the eggs, sugar, and butter for flavor. While a plain Jane version is my favorite, I do make variations with subtle additions that won't upstage the base, such as a Almond-Chocolate Marble.
In this recipe, I've added a strongly brewed dose of soothing chamomile tea and incorporated it into the batter. The gently herbal tone is delicate and is later accentuated by a chamomile-honey glaze. The effect is subtle, as a hot cup right before bed would be.
Note: I always find that cakes baked in loaf pans tend to overcook on the sides. To lessen this effect and promote more even baking, insulate your pan by wrapping it in several layers of heavy-duty foil, or, if you have an extra loaf pan, use it as an extra layer.
- For the Cake:
- Baking spray
- 16 chamomile tea bags
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- 2 cups (about 10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (about 10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- For the Glaze
- 1/3 cup honey
For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray.
Allow tea to steep in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Squeeze out all liquid from bags and discard. Allow tea to cool to room temperature. Divide tea in half, reserving half for icing.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with tea. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add vanilla and beat just to combine.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer cake to cooling rack and let cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert cake directly onto cooling rack and cool completely, at least 1 hour.
For the Glaze: Combine reserved tea and honey in small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until honey mixture is homogenous. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Using a skewer, poke holes all over cake. Pour glaze over cake. Serve.
9- by 5-inch loaf pan, electric mixer, rubber spatula, cooling rack, small saucepan