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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Perfection Pound Cake

Pound Cake (noun): a loaf-shaped cake with a moist, closely knit crumb and a soft crust. Named for having originally been made with approximately a pound each of butter, sugar and flour. Flavor comes mostly from butter; leavening comes mostly from eggs. Best with: fruit, ice cream, jam, chocolate, plain, milk, lemon curd, spiced apples, hot cocoa, berry compote, whipped cream.

I figured it was high time to try making my own pound cake. Granted, my picture is dumb because my pan was too small - couldn't find my 9x5, or maybe I never had one, but I still stand by it proudly. Pound cake by definition (see above) is simple, but when done right, fabulous. What this particular recipe does is make up for its simplicity with extended beating periods. This is not a quick cake to make because it is important to beat the butter and sugar for a FULL 5 MINUTES and at least 1, preferably 2, minutes between each egg. Also be sure eggs and butter are at room temperature. You can speed up the eggs a bit by sitting them in warm water for a few minutes if you forget to take them out early.

We had this with strawberries and whipped cream, trifle-style. It's honestly hard to get better than a really good strawberry shortcake.

Perfection Pound Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour or 2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325. Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of each other.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Working with a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl and reduce speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each egg goes in. As you're working, scrape down teh bowl and beater often. Mix in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated - don't overmix. In fact, you might want to fold in the last of the flour, or even all of it, by hand with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

4. Put the cake into the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. If it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. It will bake for about 70 to 75 minutes; a smaller pan (like 8 1/2 by 4 1/2) may need up to 90 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean.
5. Remove the cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 30 minutes. Run a blunt knife between the cake and sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.

Recipe from:


david said...

YES!!! i could be wrong, but i think i gave you that trifle cake bowl!?!

Disco Mom said...

Yes indeed dave - best wedding present we got that has survived five moves!

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