Friday, March 12, 2010

The Story of a Pound Cake

My mind has been busy with ideas, whims and wishes. Now after 2 years of exceptional lethargy, my mind is awake and I want to run and dance and swim and, surprisingly, bake. And what evil did I wish for this morning? Dense, buttery, velvety pound cake. 

Looking back, I was never one to cook, let alone bake. I would run away at the sight of someone needing help in the kitchen and I was uncooperative and clumsy, to say the least. But like everything else that changes (because "Change is the only constant," according to a friend's Facebook status), I yielded. More on that later though.

Today, I baked a pound cake. It sounds commonplace and unimaginative but did you know that it was created in the 1700s? No, you didn't and neither did I, until I Googled it earlier today. You should too. I'm not going to get into the timeline of the pound cake right now but I do know that the recipe has reasonably changed since 1796. 

In all honesty, I don't know how Amelia Simmons baked it in a slow oven for 15 minutes because mine took 65 minutes (exactly as the recipe called for) on 175 degrees Celsius. But then again, Amelia Simmons wrote a cookbook called (and I'm serious here): American Cookery: or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Puff-pastes, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves, and all kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plumb to plain Cake. 

Amelia Simmons has just proven to both of us that she probably talked too much and that a food blog is nothing to be proud of when a female orphan, according to the book cover, attempted to write a ridiculously long titled book with uncomfortable clothes on and no internet access and succeeded.




I got the recipe I used from Food is Luv but I'm the type of person who can never stick to a recipe or instructions for that matter so this is my slightly modified version:


Pound Cake: (makes 1 loaf)
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of cake flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (Not included in the original recipe but I wanted a dense cake with a softer, slightly lighter texture.)


*The original recipe called for 1 extra egg yolk but I eliminated it. It also had only 1 teaspoon of vanilla but I couldn't resist adding another.

Grease your pan.  Get a bowl and whisk the cake flour and salt. If you need cake flour substitutes, Google it or ask me. If you use all-purpose flour instead, your cake will have a coarser texture. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until they're light and fluffy. So pretty. Don't forget to scrape the sides of the bowl as you go along to eliminate build up. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is properly blended in before adding the next one. Add the vanilla with the third egg and mix again until it looks mixed well enough. Alternate adding the flour and the cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix for 5 minutes. Your final texture should be thick and smooth. After you pour your batter into your pan, bang it a few times on a table. It sounds strange but just do it. It kills the air bubbles and gives you better texture. 




Put your cake in the oven. You don't have to preheat the oven for this recipe. Strange again but it worked great. Oven at 175 degrees Celsius. Bake for an hour. Your toothpick or knife should come out dry and if you poke it with your finger, it'll bounce back. If you're still left with cake residue, bake for another 10-15 minutes. It should be a medium-dark golden brown. That's the way it's supposed to be since it develops a great crust thus retaining the moisture inside. 


When you take it out, let it cool for 5-10 minutes then run a knife around the edges to loosen the sides. Flip it oven and set it gently on a cooling rack.



9 comments:

  1. perfect pound cake. And I'll bet it tastes delicious too.

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  2. Thank you! First comment! Yay for both of us! You just really motivated me to continue with this little mission of mine. :)

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  3. Your pound cake looks perfect. I love pound cake. I also love the lady on your header!! So 50's sexy! :)

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  4. Memoria: I love the lady too! It's a Robert Skemp originally. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

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  5. love the story didnt know that pound cake dates far back to 1700... will sure try it

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  6. Mura: Thanks for dropping by! Betshaga3eeni! Let me know if you're making it and want to know anything. Xx.

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  7. wow that looks really delicious...!!!

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  8. Jessiker: Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. hey..i m goin to try it..wanted to bake since a long time..but i made only 2-3 cakes till nw..but in a microwave..wil try dis one too..hope it turns out just like urs... <3

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