If you’re on a diet, why not try Half-Pound Cake?

Posted on May 3, 2011

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This half-pound cake technically has half the calories of a full pound cake (also only half the ingredients – great for my food budget diet). This might make me feel better except for the fact that I will likely end up eating nearly the whole thing myself. This is still no good. I try to abide my “all things in moderation,” so I don’t feel too bad about eating cake… I just shouldn’t eat the whole thing. I took the first step by halving a regular pound cake recipe (so named because original recipes called for a pound each of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter), but what is going to prevent me from eating a whole half pound of cake?

The Cornell University Food and Brand Lab has published research on the Large Plate Mistake, which suggests that the size of a plate or bowl in relation to the food it holds causes an optical illusion. That is, when we serve dinner on a huge plate with a large outer rim, the amount food consumed is judged to be less than the same amount food that is served on a small plate with a thin outer rim.

So if I serve my slice of half-pound cake a on extra small plate, maybe I will be trick myself into feeling satisfied with just one slice?

Maybe… I would likely have better luck if, miracle of miracles, my husband (who, as I’ve mentioned before, doesn’t eat sweets) decides to like this cake – then I can feed half of this half (ok, I guess that’s a quarter) to him. (I sure hope the kids we have one day will like cake…) Bah, maybe I should just bake only for my co-workers from now on — at least they’ll eat anything!

I used up the final tablespoons of my lemon curd in the glaze. I also added lemon zest and juice to the cake to carry through the flavors from the glaze (I got enough for the cake and glaze from one lemon, with extra zest left over).

So many things can be added to pound cake (berries, nuts, chocolateeee!!!). I also used cake flour since I had purchased it for the angel food cake, but I would not be afraid of using regular all-purpose flour in this recipe, which I adapted from Everyday Food – their May 2011 issue had a great pound cake tutorial plus four different variation ideas, but I just checked out their website (link below) and found even more ideas!

Lemon Half-Pound Cake
adapted from Everyday Food magazine

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 extra large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup cake flour, sifted, plus more for pan

Lemon Curd Glaze

3 tablespoons lemon curd
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a half-size loaf pan. Sprinkle with flour, tapping out excess.

In a small bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (The original recipes suggests using an electric mixer, but of course, I don’t have one of those – I just do it the old-fashioned way!)

Add vanilla, zest, and juice, then add eggs one at a time, beating until combined. Add salt, then gradually add flour, beating well to combine and scraping down bowl as needed.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pan on wire rack for about 30 minutes before removing from pan.

Meanwhile, prepare lemon curd glaze. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Use a spatula to turn cake out onto the cooling rack. Cool cake out of pan for about another 30 minutes. Pour glaze over cooled cake. If desired, use a toothpick to poke holes on top of the cake before glazing to allow glaze to seep into center of cake.

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