Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Classic Pound Cake

The last time I remembered I ate a pound cake it was of the Sara Lee variety. You know those frozen ready-made ones you get from the supermarkets. Don't get me wrong I love them and they are of the perfect texture, taste, and richness. But I have this long-running challenge to myself of seeking out the best recipes for everything and this recipe for pound cake I found in The New Best Recipe cookbook (which I will blog separately later) certainly looked intriguing.

Pound cake would be called butter cake around here and I guess is a cousin of the Madeira cake. All are butter-based cakes with only subtle hint of vanilla, almond or lemon in them. I was intrigued enough with this recipe because it did not have any leavening (i.e. baking powder, baking soda, etc.) and relies primarily on the lifting power of six eggs. Not only that, the eggs are not added whole one by one into the batter, as you would usually do, but first lightly beaten then added as a thin stream while beating.

Thankfully, I did succumb to finally making it last weekend otherwise I would not have known the best butter-based cake I have ever baked. I kid you not, I wholly recommend this recipe just look at that high peaking cake below. Probably the only thing I would change is the type of sugar. Next time I would use caster sugar instead of the coarser grained regular granulated. It blended in fine but you can clearly see at the top crust the small round granules of the sugar. I'd like it to have a smooth golden surface next time and then it would be perfect. Move over Sara Lee!


Classic Pound Cake

250 g  [1 cup] unsalted butter - soft at room temperature
260 g  caster sugar (superfine)
3 large eggs - room temperature
3 large egg yolks - room temperature
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
170 g  [1 1/2 cups] cake flour or plain flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C/fan 140°C. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and egg yolks in a small bowl with a fork.
  3. Mix in the vanilla and water. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until smooth and shiny.
  5. Add the sugar in slowly while continually beating.
  6. Beat the butter-sugar mixture until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  7. While the mixer is still running, slowly add the egg mixture in a thin stream.
  8. Finally beat in the salt.
  9. Sift 1/2 cup of the flour on the batter and fold gently with a rubber spatula until well incorporated.
  10. Repeat this procedure in 1/2 cup increments until the flour is used up.
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  12. Bake for 70-80 minutes or until a skewer pierced into the middle top comes out clean.
  13. Remove from oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes.
  14. Turn out and let cool completely. Serve.


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