According to nationaldaycalendar.com, March 4 is National Pound Cake Day — and my inspiration for this article.
Aptly named, a pound cake is made from a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. The cake is buttery, sweet and delicious. The classic recipe is almost perfect, but its dense, heavy texture and rather hard, crumbly crust misses the mark a bit.
For all the sweet, buttery goodness of the classic pound cake, but with a melt-in-your-mouth silky texture, I highly recommend this recipe for Perfect Pound Cake from "The Cake Bible" cookbook by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
PERFECT POUND CAKE
(Have ingredients at room temperature)
3 tablespoons milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
13 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, lightly combine the milk, eggs and vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 minute.
Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients. Scrape down the sides.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with buttered foil after 30 minutes to prevent over browning.
Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and invert it onto a greased wire rack. Cool completely.
Frosting is overkill on a pound cake, but a flavored simple syrup glaze adds a little something special without overdoing it.
When glazing, be sure cake is still warm. Poke holes over the top with a toothpick and spoon or brush some of the hot glaze over cake, let soak in and then repeat until syrup is used up.
BUTTER RUM GLAZED POUND CAKE
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
Combine ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring just until sugar is dissolved.
Garnish slices with whipped cream and chopped pecans.
LEMON GLAZED POUND CAKE
Add 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind to cake batter.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine remaining ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring just until sugar is dissolved.
Garnish slices with whipped cream and blueberries.
I like to make tea sandwiches with leftover pound cake. Add a few chopped strawberries to cream cheese and spread between two slices of pound cake. Cut into triangles and serve.