Bring the Garden in Friday with Meyer Lemon Rosemary Pound Cake

I've been really missing creating my "Bring the Garden in Friday" posts. For the next few months, until we're out turning the soil again, I'll be back with this Friday column once or twice a month.

The rosemary branches I snipped today had buds on them. It's January in Pennsylvania! I even collected a big bowlful of arugula last weekend.

This pound cake recipe caught my eye last Spring--I felt like it had me and my rosemary bush written all over it. This is some serious rosemary recipe. Three tablespoons in the pound cakes alone. I like that, though, most recipes are timid with their rosemary, and I am often liberal in my measuring.

After tasting my first loaves, I had two thoughts: too sweet and needs lemon.

I decided to give Meyer lemons a try. I have never bought them before, and our co-op has been getting them for a month or more now. I love their deep yellow color, and they were so much easier to zest than regular lemons.

I think they were just the right thing here, rounding out the sweetness from the honey and pungency of the rosemary, and adding a less assertive citrus flavor than typical lemon, almost an orange and lemon mix.

I'm a little envious of some of you out there in California picking these fruits off your trees, having so many you hardly know what to do with them. Meanwhile, I'm grateful to be bundling up in my parka, hat, and scarf, with scissors in hand and Harry underfoot to snip my budding rosemary.

I suppose it's a fair trade. What do you think?

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Pound Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans and parchment
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of 2 Meyer lemons
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 large eggs. plus 1 egg white
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Rosemary Honey (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 4 1/2 x 8 -1/2 inch loaf pans, and line with parchment, leaving a 1-inch overhang on each long side. Butter parchment. Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
2. Beat butter, sugar and rosemary with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs and egg white, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low. Beat in flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the milk and lemon juice.
3. Divide batter between pans. Bake, rotating halfway through, until deep gold and a toothpick inserted in centers comes out with moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes. Brush cakes with some rosemary honey, and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, using parchment, and transfer to wire rack. Remove parchment and let cool for 15 minutes more before slicing. Serve warm with more honey if desired (although we eat ours as is!).
Storage: Cakes can be stored at room temperature for 1 day.

Rosemary Honey

1 cup light-flavored honey, such as clover
5 rosemary sprigs (3 inches each)

Bring honey and rosemary to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let steep until cool, about 45 minutes. Remove rosemary, or leave in for a stronger flavor.
Storage: Honey can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.