Pound cake got its name because recipes orignally contained a pound of each ingredient: flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. Easy enough, right? Today pound cakes are anything but, with bakers, chefs, and home cooks alike adjusting that simple 1:1:1:1 ratio ever so slightly to suit their needs.
Sticking to the one-pound forumula couldn't be easier though—although, for our purposes, we're going to cut it in half because that happens to be the perfect amount for 1 loaf pan. The ratio is unchanged, so the cake remains the same.
Since there is no liquid in pound cakes, they are very dense, crumbly cakes. Made right, they are rich and moist as well. An important aspet in achieving this is the mixing method. Our pound cake utilizes the creaming method: butter and sugar is beat together long enough to create an airy texture that looks light in color and is fluffy. This helps incorporate air into the batter. Skipping this step will create an very dense, heavy cake.
Adding a little leavening, here baking soda, and baking powder to help activate it—baking soda requires an acid to activate; baking powder is baking soda with a powder acid mixed in already— help keep the cake from becoming too dense.
Pound cakes are perfect cake bases for mixing in various flavors, fruits, and nuts and are perfect under numerous glazes, sauces, and frostings.
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 ounces (1 cup) sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat an oven to 325°F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchement paper or butter and flour the bottoms and sides.
- With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 mintues. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix in well.
- In a seperate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat on medium-low speed until the flour is completely incorporate, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan about 10 minutes before removing the cake to a cooling rack to cool completely.