This is a fancier version of the lemon pound cake, but instead of using all butter for the fat, crème fraiche is used for about half. The result is a very delicate pound cake with a moist crumb and almost creamy mouth feel.
You can see how I made my own crème fraiche here, but there is an important caveat to using the crème fraiche, which I found out during the process of baking and caused me to make another. I’ll go into that more after I list the steps.
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream 85 g of butter in the stand mixer with the flat beater, then beat in 100 g of superfine sugar and continue to beat for about 5 minutes until the mix is white and light. Then beat in another 125 g of superfine sugar, plus the zest of 3 lemons.
2. Beat in one egg with the flat beater, then switch to the wire whip and beat in another 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks, adding them one at a time, whipping until the batter is light and fluffy.
3. Keep a ½ cup of crème fraiche very cold and whisk it for a few minutes to aerate it a bit. Then whip the crème fraiche into the batter.
4. Sift together 50 g rice flour, 50 g tapioca starch, 40 g potato starch and 30 g sorghum flour, plus 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, and ¾ tsp xanthan gum. Fold this into the batter with a rubber spatula. Then sprinkle in 3 T of dark rum and fold this in, being careful not to deflate the batter.
5. Scoop the batter into a prepared 6 cup loaf pan (prepared by buttering and fitting with a parchment paper liner, then brushing this with clarified butter). Smooth down the top and put the pan onto a baking sheet.
6. Bake for about 50 to 1 hr 10 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then unmold it and turn it right side up on a wire rack. Let it cool to temperature.
7. If the cake has domed up in the center, cut off the top to make a even surface, then turn the cake upside down.
8. When ready to glaze, preheat the oven to 450F. Brush the top and sides of the cake with about 100 g of melted strained apricot jam.
9. Mix 50 g of confectioners’ sugar and 2 tsp dark rum, plus about a tsp of lemon juice to make a fluid paste. Brush this over the jam layer.
10. Take about 30 g (3T) of chopped blanched almonds and sprinkle onto the sides’ bottom edge, then use the parchment liner to press the almonds into the cake to make them stick.
11. Sprinkle a few raw pistachios that have been roughly chopped down the middle of the top of the cake. Put the cake back into the oven and bake for about 1 1/2-2 minutes, looking for the white coat to change to translucent and taking the cake out if the glaze starts to bubble. Let this cool to room temperature.
I found out that the most important part of the instructions is step 3 because I did not keep the crème fraiche very cold the first time around, nor did I whisk it before adding it to the mix, and it turned the fluffy butter/sugar/egg mix into soup, which it did not bounce back from, even after adding the flour.
I knew the batter was wrong, but I baked it anyway and I’m sure the taste is just as good, but it did negatively affect the rise. You can see the difference in between the two cakes below: