With this long, winter weather, I've been craving sunshine. Lemon is one of my favorite summertime flavors and always reminds me of sipping on limoncello after a beautiful summer meal outdoors in southern Italy.
The first time I tasted limoncello was in Capri when Pam invited me to join her, Emma and Siena on a private tour with a bunch of vivacious girlfriends. This is when I met Rebecca. She is an American who lives in Capri and took us out on the most mesmerizing boat cruise I ever had in my life.
The first night, we ate at a local fish restaurant and enjoyed a great meal together. At the end of the dinner, they brought us an unlabeled bottle with bright yellow liquor inside along with little shot glasses and said "this will help you digest." I instantly knew it was lemon, but I had never tasted limoncello. I took a sip and thought it tasted like sunshine warming my throat as it went down. I have loved it since that day!
Most restaurants will make their own recipe for limoncello and are very proud of it. Each one is delicious and just a bit different, depending on the lemons used to make it. Now that we are back in Minnesota, I enjoy the limoncello from Trader Joes, which is directly from Sciliy and very authentic. It transports me back to Italy every time I sip on a glass.
This weekend I experimented with a lemon pound cake recipe and have always wanted to add limoncello to see how it might taste. I can tell you, it's really, over the top good! I highly recommend this lively addition to kick up a plain lemon pound cake to make it extra special! I dare you to not take a sip of the limoncello as you are making this:)
Limoncello Pound Cake
2 sticks of butter (16 tablespoons) room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 lemons for 1 tablespoon lemon zest and ½ cup lemon juice (reserve the rest of the lemon for juice and zest for later)
1 tablespoon orange zest
4 eggs (room temperature)
4 ounces limoncello
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Spray an 8x4 inch loaf pan with spray oil and line with parchment paper.
With a hand or stand mixer - cream together the room temperature butter, sugar and citrus zest until light and creamy. Next add the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add 2 ounces of the limoncello and mix well. Last, add the flour, salt, and baking powder - mixing until the batter is light and fluffy – around 1 minute.
Pour the batter into the 8x4 inch loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Tap to get rid of any air.
Place in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes. The cake should be slightly brown on the top. Pour another two ounces of limoncello over the hot cake – it will seep into the cake and give it an extra lemony, delicious taste.
Let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
¼ cup lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
2 ounces limoncello (yes, more limoncello)
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Spread over cooled pound cake and top with another ½ teaspoon of lemon zest.