Friday, January 08, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Classic Pound Cake

In 2009, I discovered some fabulous food blogs which have provided me with new skills, new ideas and a whole lot of new recipes. As a result I have decided to start a regular post of my own recipes in some feeble attempt to repay my debt to all those that have provided me recipes and ideas that have won me praise. Every Friday I will be posting a new recipe. Not all will be my original recipes (sources will always be cited) but they are sure to be crowd pleasers.

First up, Pound Cake. Don forwarded this recipe to me via IM last summer which prompted an in-depth discussion. I had never considered why it is called Pound Cake, it just was. Maybe it was because that is what Sarah Lee wanted it call it, I didn't know. So you can image the "Aha!" moment I had when I realized that it earned its name because it is traditionally made with a pound of the four major ingredients. If you weren't aware of that fact you can read more about it here.

I made it for the first time a few days later and was delighted with the results. It was the best Pound Cake I've ever had in my entire life. And I though Sarah Lee was good, hah! You can see additional pictures of the preparation here. Enjoy!

Pound Cake, originally uploaded by JewellsinSEA.

Classic Pound Cake

Yield: 2 loaves (24 servings) or one 10-inch tube cake

6 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 package (8 ounces) cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
2¾ cups sugar
1 tsp Kosher salt
4 tsp pure vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour (see note)

Let eggs stand at room temperature about 30 minutes or until they are room temperature (no more than 2 hours).

Generously butter and lightly flour two 8-by-4-by-2-inch loaf pans or one 10-inch tube pan.

Using large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat cold butter about 2 minutes on low speed, occasionally raising to moderately high speed for 5 seconds to dislodge butter from paddle. Add cream cheese. Beat on low speed 3 minutes with occasional short bursts on high speed to dislodge mixture from paddle.

Beat butter and cream-cheese mixture until waxy and well-blended. Still mixing on low, add sugar in a slow, continuous stream; this should take 1½ to 2 minutes. Add salt. Continue creaming butter and cream-cheese mixture for 5 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl once halfway through. Increase speed to medium; continue mixing 2 minutes more, scraping once.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating 20 to 30 seconds after each addition or just until each egg is fully incorporated before adding next egg. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl after first three eggs. Beat in vanilla with last egg.

Gradually add about 2½ cups of flour on low speed, mixing until just blended; this should take about 1 to 1½ minutes. Turn off mixer. Fold in remaining flour by hand with a rubber spatula, just until combined.

Turn batter into prepared pan or pans. Shake pan or pans gently to distribute batter. Run a spatula in zigzag pattern through batter. Drop filled pan or pans from a height of about 6 inches onto kitchen counter to dislodge any large air pockets.

Place on center rack of cold oven. Turn oven setting to 300°F. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1½ hours without opening oven door for the first 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Bake 1 hour 45 minutes for tube pan.) Test for doneness by carefully inserting a cake tester in center. Cake is done when tester comes out clean.

Transfer to cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely before serving.

Note: You can substitute 2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour in place of cake flour.

Source: Scott Peacock, Seattle Times: Tips — and a recipe — for the perfect pound cake

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