December 13, 2004
Pound Cake - Plain

Why is a pound cake called a pound cake? Well, if it's made badly you can pound nails with it, but really, it's because the recipe uses a pound of three key ingredients - maybe four - I didn't weigh the eggs.

The pound cake is a basic cake that should be in the repertoire of anyone who ever pours batter into a mold and bakes it to make a cake. It can be jazzed up in any number of ways. Add a little bourbon or brandy and it's New Orleans style poundcake. Put a little lemon zest in the mix and you have a light lovely base for all kinds of desserts.

I thought I'd start simply with a basic vanilla pound cake. I made this recipe yesterday so I'd have a base to put the cranberry and dried fruit sauce on that I was planning on making today (and which turned out marvelously, I might add).

Pound Cake
1 lb butter - room temperature
1 lb cake flour, sifted
10 eggs
teaspoon of salt
2 cups/1 lb granulated sugar.
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease and flour a bundt or other tube pan.
Preheat oven to 350 F
Sift flour and salt together. You really want cake flour for this recipe and not all-purpose flour.

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until the egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Keep mixer going.

Turn mixer down and add 1/3 flour. Raise speed on mixer until flour is incorporated. Reduce speed, add next 1/3 flour and repeat. Reduce speed, add final 1/3 and repeat.

-An aside here. If you don't crank the mixer down lower than you think you need to before you add the flour you will have a lot of powdery flour mess to clean up later. Don't ask how I know this...

Stop mixer. Scrape down sides with a spatula. Add vanilla and mix 30 seconds more or until vanilla is incorporated.

Spoon mixture into prepared bundt pan. Smooth out top as best you can. Put pan in the oven and bake for one hour and ten minutes until top (which will probably split) is golden brown and delicious.

Remove bundt pan from oven and run a knife around the inside rim of the pan to separate the cake from the sides.

Cool on a wire rack for at least one hour before serving. Cake may taste "eggy" when warm. If this taste disturbs you, reduce the eggs to 8 eggs and two yolks.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and a glass of milk or with the delicious cranberry sauce I'll post tomorrow.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at December 13, 2004 7:00 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

You know this sounds like it might be the perfect base recipe to launch the lemon/poppyseed cake you suggested! I might have to give it a try. Do you think I should alter the recipe in any way if switching to cupcakes instead of a bundt pan?

Posted by Meg in Paris on December 13, 2004 at 9:00 AM

It would certainly change the baking time, I would think, but I don't think you need to change the ingredients at all.

Maybe try 30 minutes and then check it every five or ten minutes until it looks done?

Posted by barrett on December 13, 2004 at 9:24 AM

This cake really brings back fond childhood memories for me. I used to love eating this rich and fluffy cake. Unfortunately, it's hard to find a true pound cake these days. Where I live, many bakers opt to make a lighter version with less butter and/or eggs. Some of the variations I like are almond, amaretto, and orange pound cake. Thanks for bringing back the memories. :)

Posted by Julia on December 14, 2004 at 11:33 AM

OK, this is decadent, but once you make the cake and it is completely cooled, slice about a 1" thick slice and slather both sides with soft butter. Grill in a pan as you would a grilled cheese sandwich. Then top it with your favorite ice cream (for this I prefer a high quality vanilla, and some fresh fruit).

When you finish, double up your dose of Lipitor for a day or two!

Posted by Tito on December 14, 2004 at 4:42 PM

I printed this! I have been looking for a good pound cake recipe - okay not that hard - and was so thrilled to find this. Thanks.

Posted by Alisa on December 16, 2004 at 3:56 AM
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