You may not know this, but a well-made pound cake is a beautiful, tasty, delightful thing. God bless whoever came up with the idea of putting a pound apiece of butter, sugar, flour and eggs (in that order, I understand) together and making a simple cake creation out of it.
Pound cake is nearly a religious symbol in the South. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a different recipe. You’d think a pound cake recipe wouldn’t have nearly so many variations, but everybody’s grandmama or grandaddy or Aunt Bessie or Cousin Alma or Aunt Ellie who’s not really your aunt but she might as well be family… everybody’s got a recipe. Some call for shortening, some call for butter. Some call for vanilla, some for lemon. Some call for chocolate chips or blueberries or peaches. Some are reportedly best baked in loaf pans, while others are better in a tube pan, and still others only work in a 10-inch bundt. (There are folks who would faint if you baked their beloved family recipe in a bundt. I don’t really know why.) Some recipes turn out a fluffy, pale interior with a barely golden puckered crust, while other recipes produce a dense yellow beauty complete with a toothsome outer dark brown crumb. It all depends on your fat, and your means of mixing, and the time spent mixing wet vs. dry and dry into wet…
Such a simple recipe doesn’t seem so simple, does it?
Fear not, mine child. The pound cake is not so frightening, and you will love it as much as we do. The only reason we have so many variable recipes is because of our love for this tasty creation.
I have a recipe posted in the annals of this blog, a recipe passed down from four generations back on my mother’s side of the family, a recipe which has not been changed and can stand the test of time. It is the recipe I judge all others from because it’s my family recipe, and as such, the be-all end-all as far as that side of the family’s concerned. (My father’s side of the family is pure Kentucky, and depending on who you ask, may or may not be considered truly Southern. As such, we may or may not be required to have a pound cake recipe to be jealous of.) It makes a bundt and a loaf, either of which are just as delicious as the other. Shape doesn’t matter to me – as long as it’s dense, super-moist and possesses that wonderful, heavenly dark crust, I could care less. Just let me eat the whole cake by myself.
The recipe I used for this cake, however, is one Bee has tucked away in the lovely archives of Rasa Malaysia, and she adapted it from About.com of all places. The original recipe is for blueberry pound cake, but it’s quite simple to take out the blueberries and add some serious lemon flavor instead.
Recipe: Blueberry Pound Cake
Adapted from Rasa MalaysiaIngredients:
1 cup butter (softened)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose or plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest and juice of 2-3 medium lemons
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Sift 2 cups flour, salt and baking powder together. Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture and beat. Grease and dust the bundt pan (or tube pan) with flour*; pour batter into it. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until it’s done.
*This is VERY important: failing to grease AND flour the pan before adding the batter will not yield an easily removable cake and you will end up with a broken crust! Use butter or shortening (if you must) to grease the pan, not spray – it will develop the all-important crust.
– If you have children, animals or really loud friends over, make them settle down or go outside while this cake is baking. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that loud noises and big movements will make a cake fall. It’s not an old wives’ tale – it’s true, and no truer than for a pound cake. They will fall in a heartbeat if your child plops himself in the floor spontaneously or if the dog chases the cat across the floor and runs into the refrigerator. Know what I mean?
– Because of the simplicity of the recipe, choose the best ingredients that you can find. They will shine through.
– Let the cake cool fully in the pan before you attempt to remove it to a wire rack or plate. Removing it prematurely could ruin the top (which will become the bottom).
– Don’t be afraid to make a glaze (milk + powdered sugar + teench vanilla), either plain or lemon, or even chocolate, to drizzle on top. I bet it would be pretty damn tasty.
Thanks, Bee, for posting an About.com recipe, so I didn’t have to be afraid that it would fail me. :) This one’s staying in the rotation.