Perfection Pound Cake
When a cake is revered for containing a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, and a pound of flour, can you really blame us Dorie groupies for wanting to jump on her version of the recipe? I have to say that, with the exception of homemade bread, I don’t think my kitchen has ever smelled better when something was in the oven. If you have seen the movie “Because I Said So” you may appreciate this… towards the end of the movie, Johnny says to Mandy Moore’s character: “I love that when I breathe you in you smell like cake batter.” In my mind, the smell of this cake baking is exactly what he is talking about. And really, for a baker, what better compliment is there??
Obviously the ingredient list for this cake is quite simple and the most important elements of the recipe lie in making sure that all ingredients are at room temperature, and that the recommended mixing times are followed. It was tempting to cut corners and move on to the next step after everything appeared to be incorporated, but I remained disciplined and I think my pound cake was all the better for it.
The recipe recommends checking the cake after 45 minutes to make sure it isn’t over-browning. When I checked mine it was pale, but I think it started to brown soon after that, so I would recommended covering with foil right at 45 minutes anyway since the browning seems to creep up on you!
Dorie also recommends wrapping the pound cake in saran wrap as soon as it has cooled to room temperature, and letting it sit on the counter overnight. She states that the taste and texture of the cake becomes even better after “ripening”.
MrsPresley at Good Eats ‘n Sweet Treats has joined the Tuesdays With Dorie group (welcome! :)), so be sure to head over to her blog to check out her take on the pound cake. And don’t forget, of course, to take a look at Laurie’s and April’s buttery creations.
Check back next Tuesday to see Orange Berry Muffins.
Last week: Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte
Perfection Pound Cake
(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” p. 222)
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 2-1/4 cups cake flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan or an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pan. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each egg goes in. As you’re working, scrape down the bowl and beater often. Mix in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated – don’t overmix. In fact, you might want to fold in the last of the flour, or even all of it, by hand with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.
Put the cake into the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. If it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. If you’re using a 9×5 pan, you’ll need to bake the cake for 70 to 75 minutes; the smaller pan needs about 90 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 30 minutes.
Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.
Wrapped well, the cake will keep for 5 to 7 days at room temperature (stale cake is great toasted) or up to 2 months in the freezer.