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Monday, May 17, 2010

Perfection Pound Cake - A TWD Catch-up

I've been browsing through my copy of Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking From My Home to Yours - there are quite a few recipes from our TWD group that I want to catch up on, make-up on or re-try, so this Tuesday it's the Perfection Pound Cake. This was one of the first recipes the group made and it was before I joined; I'm feeling like a nice bit of pound cake, something secure and soothing and relaxing. My dessert catering for Ascension Day reception at my Church went very well last Thursday, but I sure am in need of de-stressing - I made over 200 mini desserts. Pound cake should do the trick.

Perfection Pound Cake

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 (I also added 1 teaspoon almond 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.

Wrapped well, the cake will keep for 5 to 7 days at room temperature (stale cake is great toasted) or up to 2 months in the freezer.

I baked my pound cake in an 8-1/2" x 4" loaf pan, for about one hour and 20 minutes. It looking quite neat, a bit overly brown for the crust - I should have used the tip about covering it with foil, but I think it will be fine for the office test tomorrow.

I'll whip up some cream and have a super jar of raspberry syrup, which tastes delicious, so I'll have these additions on the side for those who want their cake a bit fancier.