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Jul 2, 2009 11:49 AM

Appreciating pound cake

I just made a Sweet Potato Pound Cake whose ingredients I jotted down a while ago - I can't recall the source. I realize that I hadn't had pound cake for several years, the last time being to sample my DC's dessert when we had dinner at Jasper White's Summer Shack. It was toasted/grilled and accompanied, if memory serves, by brown sugar ice cream and grilled pineapple. I was skeptical about toasted pound cake but it was excellent.

For those unfamiliar, pound cake originated well before written recipes; the name comes from the traditional recipe, which was a pound each of sugar, butter, flour, and eggs. No leavening. Modern versions are usually not as rich, and do have baking powder and/or soda. They can have other flavorings and are found as everything from plain, unglazed loaves to layer cakes.

Pound cake used to be more popular than it is today, and it deserves reviving. It's simple to make - since it doesn't rise much it can be mixed up in one bowl, with just a wooden spoon.
It's good unadorned, but versatile enough to be the foundation for shortcake, ice cream with toppings, and a multitude of sauces. If your only taste memory is of the Sara Lee version (although it not bad), get out your mixing bowl and give it another chance!

What's your favorite recipe or accompaniment for pound cake?

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  1. This was my dear Aunt Mary's Sour Cream Pound Cake,

    Family Recipe from the Old South


    ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
    3 C flour
    3 C sugar
    6 eggs (room temperature)
    ½ pint Breakstone’s sour cream (room temp.)
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon almond extract (if desired)
    ½ teaspoon mace or 2 teaspoons lemon extract

    Cream sugar and butter together. Alternate adding 2 eggs with the dry ingredients mixture (flour, soda, salt) until all 6 eggs blended in. (You may whip eggs before adding into mixture. Mom says it’s not worth the effort.) Blend in sour cream and extracts.

    Pour mixture into greased (Crisco shortening and not oil) and floured tube pan and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for approximately 1 ½ hours.

    alkapal's variation:

    Use cake flour, rather than all-purpose flour.
    Substitute approximately 3-5 Tablespoons flour with Hershey’s cocoa.
    Add spices as desired:
    ½ teaspoon each of Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves (ground), Nutmeg,
    1 Tablespoon Cardamon.

    Note: Do not flour pan after greasing. Check cake at 1 hour 20 minutes with wooden skewer. If clean, cake is done. Once cooled, add Frangelico Hazelnut liqueur in frequent doses to crack in top of cake. Seal cake in aluminum foil. Add more Frangelico the next day and so forth. Cake is best after about 4 days to a week. Enjoy!

    3 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      <<Add more Frangelico the next day and so forth. Cake is best after about 4 days to a week.>>

      Well, no kiddin', alkasis, a little MORE Frangelico and a little MORE after that, of course it's best about four days to a week! DRUNKEN POUND CAKE--WOOHOO! (Homer Simpson and I couldn't be happier!). :)

      I still need to try the pineapple sage pound cake recipe I found here, but cannot endorse it until it comes out of my own oven. And next on my baking docket is almond cakes...with (hopefully) new Wilton silicone cute-little-shaped baking pans that you told me about. Gotta find 'em first.

      1. re: alkapal

        Grilled pound cake sandwiches! I love these. Your filling can vary, depending on what's on hand, fresh fruit, a jam, and don't discount savory! The sharp cheddar I used once was such a delight of sweet/ savory.
        Now if you really wanna get decadent, hot off the grill the al la mode.

        1. re: Quine

          Yep, grill both sides, then the last side put a layer of cream cheese, raspberry jam, and then diced pecans top with fresh peaches and vanilla ice cream. That is my absolute favorite. Had it at a restaurant in WA and was hooked. I make it all the time.

      2. I love pound cake. Fresh veggies sauteed in a light sugar sauce with dark rum (or not)

        layered thin slices with strawberry preserves fresh and a almost whipped cream and crushed walnuts.

        Than a hundred flavors to make to the pound cake itself.

        I grill it all the time, fresh grilled peaches in a butter and brown sugar sauce and the list goes on and on.

        1. I looooooove Smitten Kitchen's Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberry Coulis. I don't always make the accompanying sauce, but -oh my!- the cake is so sublime. So rich, so eggy, with the perfect "chewy" crust forming on top. The first time I had tried this recipe, I fell so deeply in love that I had to make two more in one week...and yes, I ate all three.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pinkprimp

            SK's pound cake is fantastic and with grilled fruit a fav in our house.
            We've also cut the pound cake into cubes and made a variety of layered desserts using
            it. Her recipe freezes beautifully too.

            that is my favorite one. I like it with a glass of milk, ice cream, berries and whipped cream, and as it gets stale some jam.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cassoulady

              OOOOOOOOOh Cassoulady, I so wanted your recipe to be the best pound cake I've ever eaten since Jacques is one of my favorite chefs.........however, it was probably the worst! I believe the cooking time has got to be off..........1-1/2 hrs????? Wish I would have used some common sense prior to wasting all those ingredients...........I even took it out 10 min early too. It wasn't inedible, but was rubbery......made me long for Sara Lee.....moist & tender!
              I did check with other recipes, & in general, it's 55 - 60 min bake time. Sorry!

              1. re: jackie2830

                my aunt mary's sour cream pound cake recipe (above) cooks for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees. it is a large, dense -- but moist and fine-crumbed -- cake cooked in a tube pan.

                jackie, try this recipe, follow the directions, and i promise you will not be disappointed.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Thanks alkapal! I had all ready bookmarked that recipe. Your aunts recipe makes sense to me with the long baking time since it's a bigger pan. Jacques however, doesn't........I got a lotta nerve arguing with a French chef oui?????

                  1. re: jackie2830

                    well, i loves jacques, too, but he ain't my aunt mary! ;-)). i **know** her recipe works. i'm anxious to hear your review. don't overcook your pound cake, and use the freshest ingredients you can find. i had a distant cousin (at round lake, in north florida) who'd not add any extract of any sort, but let the butter and farm-fresh eggs speak for themselves. it was a delicious cake, too.

            2. my mom always liked toasted pound cake, sometimes just with butter for breakfast, or with ice cream for dessert.

              it's not flashy, so i guess it fell out of favor.

              i agree it needs reviving!

              1 Reply
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                What better place than here to start the revolution? ;)