Limoncello Pound Cake from Frankie Avalon
It’s good to have a good old-fashioned pound cake on hand for snacking. Mrs. Avalone’s (the original family name) recipe follows that tradition, but lately Frankie has gussied it up a bit with a soaking of limoncello. Plain or fancy, this cake is good either way. And it also makes a great shortcake with fresh berries and whipped cream, particularly with the lemon flavor from the liqueur.
  • softened butter and flourfor the cake pan
  • 4cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1cup limoncello
  • 3/4cup whole milk
  • 1cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3cups sugar
  • 8large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter the inside of a 12-cup tube pan with a removable bottom, such as angel food cake pan. Dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Combine ¼ cup of the limoncello with the milk. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. (Or cream the butter and sugar well by hand.) One at a time, beat in the eggs, letting the first egg be absorbed before adding the next. Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest. With the mixer on low speed, In thirds, beat in (or stir in by hand) the flour mixture, alternating with two equal additions of the milk mixture, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Scrape the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top.
  3. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a long bamboo skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1¼ hours. Transfer to a wire cake rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  4. Run a knife around the inside edges of the pan and the tube. Invert and unmold the cake onto the rack and place the rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pierce the upturned bottom of the cake all over with the bamboo skewer in a few places, and brush half of the remaining 3/4 cup limoncello over the warm cake. Let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the cake right side up, pierce the top all over with the skewer, and brush with the remaining limoncello. Let the cake cool completely. (The cake can be covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.) Slice and serve.
Recipe Notes

Note: For an alcohol-free version of this cake, omit the limoncello.  Increase the milk to 1 cup.  When the cake is baked, whisk 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice with 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar to dissolve the sugar, and use this mixture to brush over the cake instead of the limoncello.