(Original Post Date: March 2, 2010)
I have a very specific memory from the age of 7 or 8 when my sister Carmen came over to visit and decided she was going to make a pound cake. My parents had gone out for the evening… so we made the pound cake together. It was fun, and the result was very good!
The next time I had a babysitter – it was my sister’s friend Celine. I remember telling Celine how my sister had made the best pound cake, so Celine decided she would make one too – to prove she could do it just as well. Yecchhhh! It was disgusting. I don’t know what she did wrong, but let’s just say she did not have the same reading comprehension skills that my sister did – the end result was a flat brick that tasted strongly of baking soda (although the recipe in question did not call for any).
How hard is it to make pound cake? It’s not hard at all, if you have a super secret recipe!
Super Secret Pound Cake:
Ready? Shhhh! I’m going to delete this in a few hours…
Ok. Did I mention this is a super secret recipe? Here it is. (Are you writing this down?)
You will need:
1 pound of butter
1 pound of sugar
1 pound of eggs
1 pound of flour
Haha. Ok, so I guess the recipe for pound cake is pretty self-explanatory, seeing as how it is called “pound” cake and all… so no need for “secret recipes” here. But technique is key – if you don’t combine those ingredients properly, your pound cake may end up being like Celine’s pound brick instead. Make sure you start with room temperature ingredients! If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can make this volumetrically:
- 1 pound of unsalted butter (4 sticks, or 2 cups)
- 1 pound of sugar (approximately 2 cups)
- 1 pound of eggs (about 9 large eggs)
- 1 pound all purpose flour (about 4 cups)
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. baking powder*
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease and flour 2 metal loaf pans.
3. Weigh out your sugar, flour, and eggs (if you are doing this by weight). Sift the baking powder into the flour.
4. Zest the lemon. (This amount of lemon zest will give the pound cake a little extra kick of flavor, but it will not taste at all like lemon once you are done.)
5. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Make sure you do this for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. This step is essential because the creaming of the butter and the sugar causes tiny bubbles to form, which help leaven the cake.
6. Add the salt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
7. Slowly mix in the eggs, one egg at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before moving on to add the next egg.
8. Add about 1/3 of the flour to your butter mixture, and being mixing it in on low speed to prevent the flour from flying up all over the place. Continue adding the flour and mixing, until all the flour is incorporated. Do not over mix.
9. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared loaf pans, smoothing down the tops.
10. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and done.
11. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning the loaves out onto a cutting board. Then set on the wire rack for a few hours until completely cooled.
12. Wrap with plastic wrap to store. This will keep at room temperature for 5 days if wrapped tightly, or freeze for up to 3 months (double wrap to prevent freezer burn).
(*Original recipes for pound cake do not usually call for any chemical leaveners… but I add just a little bit of baking powder, mostly for insurance. If you cream the butter and sugar well enough, you really don’t need any baking powder at all.)