I’m craving cake today. ‘Nuf said.
This cake is so named because the original recipe called for a pound of each ingredient: eggs, sugar, flour and butter. The batter was beaten vigorously (by hand) to incorporate air, which was the sole leavening before baking soda or powder was available. Baking the cake in the traditional manner yields a dense, but delicious loaf. In the 1950’s Sara Lee upped the ante by making delicious light and buttery pound cake available to the masses, and folks now expect a lighter texture from a pound cake than was traditional.
This pound cake is vanilla, but it can be jazzed up with any number of flavors. I like to use rose water in place of the vanilla, which was a favorite flavoring of the Victorians. (You can find rose water in Indian and Middle Eastern markets.) Add citrus zest, nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits, or fresh berries. When the batter is in the loaf pan you can marble it by topping it with 1 cup chocolate sauce, ganache, or jam. Using a spoon, fold the topping into the batter. Take care to use only a few folding strokes. If you over-mix it, the topping will get mixed in, not marbled through.
2-1/4 cup cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 TB. vanilla
2 TB. milk
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 9×6″ loaf pan with butter and parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and set aside. In a large bowl with a sturdy spoon or electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one by one. Add milk, and slowly add the sifted ingredients. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake at 325˚F for 45-60 minutes, until a pick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack. Cool completely before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.