I didn’t used to like lemons. Or anything having to do with lemons for that matter. When I was growing up, every time my grandparents visited, my grandma would make my dad a lemon meringue pie. I would sit sullenly after dinner and eat the meringue off the top, all the while thinking, Why couldn’t she have made a chocolate pie?! Bratty, I know.
One of the very best parts of my work as a counselor are the days that I get to co-facilitate a grief group for teenagers that have lost a parent or a close loved one. There are many times that I think I get more out of the group than they may. I leave each session with a better understanding and appreciation of true loss, love, compassion, humor, and seeing joy in all the little things we experience and fill our lives. But these guys get that stuff. They totally get it.
These kids have had to go through something many of us fear; losing those that matter the most to us. This week, I spent a day at a seminar on grief counseling for children and teens. It may seem strange, but it was such a fun, inspiring day. Yes, the topic was grief and loss, but being surrounded by others in helping professions (everyone is so nice at these things!), all there with the specific goal of better serving those that are struggling, was motivating and invigorating, not to mention the children’s group activities that we had to role-play and get us out of our comfort zones.
When I made this gluten-free lemon pound cake today I thought about all those visits from my grandparents and all those dreaded lemon meringue pies. I’m grateful for this memory, and so happy that I now love lemons in any shape or form. Without the help of the kids in my grief group, this is a memory and an appreciation I might have just skipped right over. Bypassed it like it didn’t even happen. This recipe is a perfect combination of the wonderfully tart and sour with the sweet – and there is certainly always joy in that.
- 1½ cups honey
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup lemon zest
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup potato starch (I like using Bob's Red Mill brand for both starches and rice flour)
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ heaping teaspoon ground flaxseed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
- Lemon Syrup:
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- *Lemon Glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350. With a gluten-free cooking spray, coat two 9x5 loaf pans.
- With a hand or stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add honey and lemon zest and beat once again combined and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, blending completely.
- In a separate bowl, mix starches and rice flour with the baking soda, baking powder, ground flaxseed, and salt.
- Blending on low, add in a third of the dry ingredients. Add in sour cream and half of the remaining dry ingredients. Finally, add the lemon juice and the remainder of the dry ingredients until blended thoroughly.
- Divide the batter between the two loaf pans (or bake one at a time if you only have one like me!) and bake for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Tip - You may need to tent a piece of foil over the top of your loaf pan in the last 5 to 10 minutes if the perimeter is browning and the center still has times to go.
- Cool the pound cakes in loaf pans for about an hour and then invert onto a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
- To make Lemon Syrup, heat honey and lemon juice over low until combined. Using a skewer or toothpick, poke holes in top of inverted pound cake and brush syrup over top. If you are adding Lemon Glaze as well, allow syrup to soak in first.
- To make Lemon Glaze, whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice together until smooth and thick. Pour over pound cake(s) and let sit for about an hour.
*For a totally refined sugar free lemon pound cake experience, omit the Lemon Glaze and use only the Lemon Syrup.
Tastes best fresh, but will keep up to two days in an airtight container in fridge.