Bay Leaf-Infused Pound Cake

When I was at the Spice Islands tasting in Chicago and plucked a bay leaf out of the jar, I was really surprised at not just how green it was, but also how fragrant it smelled. The leaves were from California, and are much more powerful than their imported counterparts. So I had a hunch they would meld nicely with buttery pound cake and a hint of orange.

And sure enough, when I tasted my first slice, I loved the deeply scented cake with the elusive flavor of bay leaves. In France, pound cake is called “Gâteau Weekend” because it’s mean to be kept around for a few days. And interestingly, this cake is definitely better the second day, when the buttery-rich batter has time to absorb the full aroma of the bay leaves.

I pair it with berries in the summer; blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or a jumble of varieties are lovely. Add peaches and plums to the mix, and perhaps a dollop of whipped cream. During winter months, sections of fresh oranges would go alongside nicely. Or simply enjoy it sliced with a cup of tea – if you’re the kind of person who drinks tea. If not, just enjoy it on its own!

Bay Leaf-Infused Pound Cake

One 9-inch cake
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Spice Islands orange peel or the zest of one orange
5 Spice Islands bay leaves
1-2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream (regular or low-fat)
1 teaspoon Spice Islands pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands sea salt

Additional softened butter for affixing the bay leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan. Dust with flour and tap out any excess, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan with the orange peel. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

4. Dab one side of each bay leaf with a little bit of softened butter, and place the leaves evenly spaced on the bottom of the prepared loaf pan, buttered side down.

5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking powder.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, vanilla and salt.

7. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the egg mixture just until combined.

8. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted butter mixture, one tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Do not overmix.

9. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, being careful not to disturb the bay leaves.

10. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake, then tip the cake out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. Before serving, remove the bay leaves.

Store the cake wrapped in plastic wrap; it will keep up to five days at room temperature.

This entry was posted in Bay Leaves, David Lebovitz, Vanilla Extract. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Bay Leaf-Infused Pound Cake

  1. my spatula says:

    I’m a pound cake fanatic and like it cold, straight from the fridge. So excited to try a bay-leaf infused version.

  2. S. A. Fifer says:

    I’m looking forward to trying this! Love good fragrant bay!

  3. Pingback: A must-try dessert « A Single Serving

  4. Linda says:

    I was recently in Greece and feel in love with their mild vinegar that was made special by the addition of bay leaves left to sit and flavor the vinegar. It had the best taste. I’m going to make my own here back at home.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Excellent! Have not played around with bay leaves. As I was reading I wondered how you had incorporated them. Didnt see them in the cake. I used the same method with rose geranium in a pound cake that was quite tasty. Makes a cool presentation when you peel them off and have the pattern of the leaves left behind. I do a chocolate pound cake with fresh choc mint that I dry and grind really fine but i bet I could put those leaves in the pan as well..hmm

    Love to take a buttery rich pound cake and go in different flavor directions with herbs. My deck is lined with such fragrant aromas ready for the test kitchen. I’m thinking lemon coriander cupcakes with a lemon basil frosting and a chocolate mint muffin. Thank you for sharing…Tantalizing ideas multiply!


  6. Pingback: Small Pound Cake

  7. nik says:

    This reminds me of a pound cake my Sicilian grandmother used to make. Excellent with Blood Orange Marmalade! She made a wonderful lemon version as well.