Lemon Verbena Pound Cake
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1 cup sugar
- Several sprigs fresh verbena, tough stem removed
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature, whites and yolks separated
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Heat oven to 350. Lightly brush a loaf pan (9 x 4.5 is what we used but standard seems to vary) with softened butter and line with parchment. Brush parchment with a generous amount of butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Shake pan so that bottom and sides are evenly coated. Tap out excess and discard. Line bottom of pan with fresh verbena and set aside.
Sift together flour and baking powder - two or three times. Add salt and set aside.
Place egg whites in the work bowl of an electric mixer fit with whisk attachment. Whip egg whites on medium low speed until they just hold a peak. Increase speed to medium high and gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon, and beat until whites are sleek and shiny. Remove from mixer and transfer to a large bowl.
Return work bowl to mixer and replace whisk attachment with paddle. Place butter in bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Beat in remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat until pale yellow. Stir in vanilla bean seeds.
Fold sifted dry ingredients into yolk mixture, stirring just enough to combine. Fold in whites, working gently and mixing just until batter is smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until cake is golden and set, about 45 minutes. A tooth pick should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 20 minutes before inverting and removing from pan. Serve with tea and cream.