cakes were the cakes made by our mothers, our grandmothers, and our
great-grandmothers. The name 'pound' was given to this cake because the original
recipes contained one pound of butter, one pound of sugar, one pound of eggs, and
one pound of flour. While the pound cakes we make today often have different
proportions from the original, they are still wonderfully rich, moist, and
buttery with a lovely golden brown crust.
When I decided to review Rose Levy Beranbaum's
'Cake Bible', this is one of the recipes I decided to make. I was
intrigued by her Pound Cake recipe as it uses a slightly different method to
mix the batter. Instead of the more common
'creaming' method where the butter and sugar are beaten together first
and then the eggs, followed by the flour and milk are added, her recipe uses
what we call the 'one bowl' or 'quick method' (also more commonly known as
a 'dump' cake). This
means all the dry ingredients are first put into a mixing bowl and then
room temperature butter, along with the liquid ingredients, are beaten into the
batter. She tells us this method reduces the gluten formation in the flour
thereby producing a cake with softer, more tender texture. I must admit
this cake does have a soft and tender crumb. But, if you're not
comfortable with this way of mixing the batter, you can make this cake
using the creaming method with excellent results. The most important thing to
remember when using this 'one bowl' method is to have all the ingredients at
room temperature and to make sure you exactly follow the instructions on mixing.
Whether you enjoy
a slice of this cake plain with just a dusting of powdered sugar or with
whipped cream or ice cream, it is truly a king
among cakes. You might also like to try toasting a slice or, an even better
idea, is to make grilled pound cake. Jane Rodmell in her book
'Best Summer Weekends' tells us to beat an egg with two tablespoons each of milk
and Grand Marnier and then dip each slice of cake into this mixture, as you
would French Toast. Then place the slices of cake on the grill,
browning each side. Serve for dessert along with fresh berries and whipped
cream. Absolutely delicious.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8
cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter or
spray the paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
In the bowl of
mixer, with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt,
and sugar) and mix
on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of
the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about
one minute to aerate and develop the
cake's structure. Scrape down the sides
of the bowl. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture, in 2
additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg
and strengthen the cake's structure.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset
spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 55
to 65 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted
in the center comes out clean. If you find the cake browning too much as it
bakes, cover with a piece of lightly buttered aluminum foil after about 30
cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove
the cake from the pan and cool completely on a lightly buttered wire rack.
The Pound Cake can be covered and stored for several days at room temperature,
for one week when refrigerated, or it can be frozen for two months.
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