Russian Pound Cake
There is something tremendously comforting about pound cake. It’s dense, buttery and, if baked correctly, supremely moist. This particular pound cake is kind of like pound cake on steroids. My mom said that waaaaaay back in the day when I was a mere apple in her eye, a lady she worked with brought this cake in for an office party. My mom loved it and asked her for the recipe. And so for the last three-plus decades, my mom, grandma and aunt have been making this. I can’t seem to recall a Christmas when this hasn’t graced the table for nibbling throughout the day. It sometimes makes an appearance at Thanksgiving too. And randomly throughout the year when someone gets the urge to bake it. This cake is uber dense, even by pound cake standards, thanks to butter, cream cheese, sugar, and oh, 10 whole eggs. Throw in cherries and walnuts, and you have a cake that is just a little extra special and perfect for serving to company or for the holidays. Or to celebrate it being Monday. Or the sunshine. Basically, it’ll make you happy whenever you decide to make it.
My grandma claims that she has a special supersized loaf pan to bake this in and says it’s even better than a tube pan. I have yet to see it, so I’m not sure what supersized exactly entails. But, if you like your pound cake in loaf form, feel free to divide this batter between two standard loaf pans and bake for a little less time, but still lowering the temperature halfway through. My mom and grandma always made this the day before they planned to serve it, so they could wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. My grandma claims that it’s even better if you wrap it and put it in the refrigerator. Like most family recipes handed down, everyone has their own way of doing things. I think you’ll find that you’ll want this cake to become a family tradition of your own!
Note: I am unsure of the origin of this recipe. I tried to find some background information on the history of this version of pound cake, but wasn’t able to find much of anything, only a few other similar variations with some different ingredient quantities. I suppose it is just one of those old-time recipes that have been handed down and passed around! And quite frankly, those are usually some of the best!
Two years ago: Homemade Pierogi
Russian Pound Cake
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (10-ounce) jars maraschino cherries, drained, stems removed and quartered
2 cups walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan; set aside. (Note #1: The recipe my mom got specifically states not to use a Bundt pan for this cake. Most likely because it rises too much and a Bundt pan would be too small for this much batter plus the rise. Note #2: If you're using a dark non-stick pan, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees F for both baking stages.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside.
3. Cream the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer still running, add in the sugar and continue to beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture; beat until combined. Use a rubber spatula to give it a final mix to make sure all of the flour is incorporated.
4. Add 1/3 of the batter to the tube pan and then sprinkle with half of the cherries and half of the walnuts. Cover with another 1/3 of the batter and then sprinkle with the remaining cherries and walnuts. Top with the remaining batter and use a rubber spatula to smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Cake will be golden brown and a thin knife or skewer inserted in center will be clean.
5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack or platter and let cool. Serve at room temperature. Wrap cake well in plastic wrap and store at room temperature or in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Wrapped in plastic and then foil, and stored in a freezer bag, cake can be frozen well.