Sunday, May 2, 2010

TWD Rewind: Perfect Pound Cake

This was another of those recipes I made while I was on medical leave, and craving some good old-fashioned comfort.

On the plus side, it tastes very light and delicious, and it's easy to bung together. I've had trouble with pound cakes in the past; they tend to come out squat and hard. No such problems with this one; it went together like a dream and came out tasting like one.

That's the good news.

The not-so-good news (the CHALLENGE, as we say in the corporate world) is the texture. I don't know...I just didn't like it. It came out a tad dry, and with almost a cotton candy-fluffy crumb. It was very Sara Lee-ish, and oddly, Dorie called this out as a plus in her recipe intro. I didn't see it as so plus-y.

I ATE it, don't get me wrong. And I liked it. But the texture wasn't what I was hoping for in a pound cake. I guess I'll keep looking for MY Perfect Pound Cake.

Dorie's Perfect 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

Getting Ready:
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.

1 comment:

  1. Yum pound cake!
    Did you shake up your baking powder before using. Lots of people don't and you should to get the maximum rise out of the baking powder. Don't laugh it is true. You will get better rise out of all your cakes and loaves if you shake up the baking powder before using. Try it and see.