Bay Leaf Pound Cake With Orange Glaze 12.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Book Report May 14, 2014

Cooks pay special attention to David Lebovitz’s dessert recipes because he’s a gifted pastry chef.

In this recipe, he infuses melted butter with bay leaves and seats more leaves at the bottom of the cake for extra flavor. (They are not to be eaten; you may wish to remind your guests or remove them as you serve slices.)

Make Ahead: The bay-leaf butter needs to steep for 1 hour.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12 servings; makes one 9-inch loaf

  • For the cake
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, plus 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 10 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 2/3 cups flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau

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For the cake: Melt the 6 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat; add 3 of the bay leaves. Let the mixture steep for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch glass or ceramic loaf pan with a little butter, then dust it with flour, shaking out any excess. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper to hang over the long sides a bit (to help with the cake’s removal after baking).

Dab the top sides of the remaining bay leaves with a little butter, then arrange them buttered side down on the parchment paper at the bottom of the loaf pan.

Whisk together the 1 2/3 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the eggs, sour cream, orange zest and vanilla extract in a separate medium bowl.

Rewarm the melted butter as needed to liquefy it. Discard its bay leaves.

Use a flexible spatula to gently stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture, then add the melted butter; stir to form a smooth batter. Scrape it into the loaf pan, spreading it evenly into the corners and being careful not to dislodge the bay leaves on the bottom. Pipe or spoon the 1 tablespoon of softened butter in a straight line down the center of the batter (create a shallow narrow trough). Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a round-edged knife around the edges of the cake to help tip it out of the pan. Transfer it, top side up, to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Combine the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice (as needed) and orange liqueur to form a smooth, slightly pourable glaze. Spread over the cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides.

Serve once the glaze has set.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories," by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2014).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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