March 4: National Pound Cake Day!
Baking is also all about proportion, and every ingredient serves a purpose. Getting those proportions right will ensure a light, fluffy, perfectly balanced cake, cookie or pastry.
A pound cake is the perfect recipe for the non-scientifically inclined. Its premise is simple – a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of butter and a pound of eggs make a pound cake. That may sound like it would make a lot of cake, and it does. Pound cakes were initially intended to feed multiple families. The great thing, though, is that as long as you keep the ratio of weight the same, you can adjust a pound cake recipe to serve 5 or 500.
Once you’ve mastered the 1:1:1:1 thing, adding flavorings is a cinch. A little vanilla essence never hurt anyone, neither did almond or lemon extracts. You could also add nuts to your version. To prevent additions like nuts or chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom of the cake batter, dust them in a little bit of flour before adding them.
Pound cakes are typically baked in Bundt pans or loaf tins, but these days, they come in all shapes and sizes. As for icing, tradition stipulates a simple dusting of powdered sugar or a classic glaze. You could also try layering the cake with fruit preserves. In Britain pound cake is more commonly known as ‘Sponge cake’ or ‘Madeira cake’. In France pound cake (named “quatre-quarts”, which means four-quarters) is a traditional and popular cake of the French region of Brittany, and as its name implies, uses the same quantity of the four ingredients. The sky is the limit once you’ve got the proportion thing down. And remember, if somehow you forget the recipe, it’s all in the name.
Lemon Blueberry Poundcake
Courtesy of Nikki from Chef-in-training.com
- 1 cup butter
- 1¾ cups sugar
- zest of one lemon
- 3 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 3 cups fresh blueberries
- 2½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest together for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time and beat an addition minute per egg.
- In a separate large bowl, mix and combine dry ingredients together.
- Add dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk to the butter/sugar/lemon zest/egg mixture. Fold in blueberries.
- Grease and flour either 2 large bread pans or 3 small bread pans.
- Pour batter and bake at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 min.
- Let loaves cool and pour glaze over them.
- Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth.
- 4 large eggs, room temperature preferred
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 3/4 cup Nutella, warmed*
- Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Spray 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Set aside. In another medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together. Set that aside as well.
- In the bowl of a standmixer, or using a handheld mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. With the mixer running on low speed, add the egg/vanilla mixture and continue to beat until smooth and light in color. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter is very thick and very sticky. Do not overmix the batter.
- Spread 1/3 of the batter into prepared loaf pan. Spread 1/2 the Nutella on top. Nutella is very thick and hard to “spread.” I used my clean fingers to help smooth it out on top. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Repeat with another 1/3 of the batter and the rest of the Nutella. Top with remaining batter.
- Bake the pound cake for 50-60 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil after 25 minutes to avoid the top and sides form browning too much. Slight browning is OK. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out free of cake crumbs (with some Nutella). The original recipe stated 1 hour and 15 minutes, but that was much too long for my cake. I fear it would be burnt and dry. 50 minutes is how long mine took, but yours may take longer.
- Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before slicing and serving. Cake stays soft, moist, and fresh stored at room temperature for up to 6 days.
*I like to lightly warm the Nutella before layering it into the pan. I simply microwave it for about 15 seconds. This makes it easier to layer into the batter, as well as helps prevent it sinking to the bottom of the pound cake.
Chocolate Pound Cake
recipe courtesy of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels