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).
1 lb butter - room temperature
1 lb cake flour, sifted
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.