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The Best Pound Cake

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#1 helenjp

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 05:45 PM

Hello...its been a while since I baked much so I need some help.

I need to make 4 pound cakes which are to be served in individually wrapped slices. I have to make at least some of them two days in advance (min. 36 hours before serving), because I have commitments which prevent me from baking more than one cake the day before (live in Japan, tiny oven takes only 1 medium sized cake at a time...).

They need to be moist, of course, and also slice cleanly 36 hours after baking (without dragging or crumbling) and present an attractive cross-section...

Current plans:...replace about 1/3 flour with almond meal, pour citrus or coffee or tea syrups over hot cakes before storing, avoid fresh fruit which might mold.

Thoughts: potato flour would make them softer, but would it ultimately make the cakes too dry? Should I be wary of too many eggs, as they can also make a cake dry out faster? Cut back on whites only??

I'd appreciate comments on long-keeping tips, and also, of course, any great ideas for ingredients!

#2 Katherine

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 05:55 PM

I wouldn't mess with the recipe, who knows what would happen? Pound cake keeps pretty well already. You should have no trouble with two-day-old pound cake.

Just wrap it well, or store it in a plastic bag.

#3 elyse

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 06:43 PM

Can you make one as a test run? Personally, I wouldn't mess with a good recipe either. You could cut the butter with shortning, but I wouldn't want to eat it.

#4 alanamoana

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 07:05 PM

i think refrigerating them once they've cooled (well wrapped) may make them easier to slice. but i agree with the other posts that you don't need to adjust the ingredients too much. pound cake should last at least four days well wrapped.

#5 Suzanne F

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 08:11 PM

To me, pound cake means only one thing: a classic "quatres quarts": a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs (in the shell), and a pound of flour. Maybe with a little vanilla powder added, but nothing else. Made with an electric mixer (cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs, fold in flour) it is light; even by hand, it is moist and delicious and keeps very well.

#6 prasantrin

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 09:03 PM

If you're not looking for a traditional pound cake, I found any of the ones that call for yoghurt or sour cream tend to stay moist for a longer period of time. But if the cake is only being kept for a couple of days before serving, I think you'd be safe with a traditional recipe, as well. But I would store it as a whole cake, rather than as individual slices.

Are you making a round cake? When I lived in Japan I had a teeny Panasonic microwave/convection/toaster oven that could only fit one 9" round pan or 8" square pan. I found that I could bake two loaf cakes in it at a time (around 4x8). You'd have smaller slices, but it could save you time and the cakes would be fresher.

#7 foodpsycho

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 09:09 PM

If you made a lemon/poppy pound cake the lemon syrup that you pour on while warm will keep the cake fresh for days.

#8 torakris

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 09:19 PM

foodpsycho got there before me! :huh:

My favorite pound cake is a lemon poppy seed pound cake that needs to be wrapped 24 hours before eating to allow the syrup to be evenly distributed.
It also keeps for 3 days at room temp and 1 week in the refrigerator.

I would say the syrup style would be the best way to go, it will add extra flavor as well as moisture.

Helen if you would like to see the recipe I use I would be happy to fax it to you. :biggrin:

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#9 Mottmott

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 09:28 PM

It sould keep for even more than a day or two, but living alone, I sometimes make a pound cake for the freezer. I can slice it easily while still frozen and as a single slice it doesn't take long to defrost.

So if you're really fearful about the cake's keeping quality, you can freeze it.
"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#10 helenjp

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 01:22 AM

Thanks for the help! I have a couple of syrup-type recipes that I'm happy with, especially one orange/lemon one including almond meal which makes for a very tender cake...but I haven't made them in a while, and I don't recall considering keeping qualities... :biggrin: However, more recipes is never a bad thing!

Guess I'm afraid that the syrup will make them hard to slice, but come to think of it, by 36 hours they should have stabilized and be easier to slice.

Thanks for the heads up on yogurt and sour cream -- had excellent results with that type of cake in past. As my supermarket doesn't have really good butter in stock at present, that's a lifesaver.

Cake tins... throw-away cardboard loaf pans are issued to all nincompoops who agreed to bake unspecified number of cakes. These work well in tiny Japanese ovens for richer cakes like pound or fruit -- stops the uneven overheating that tiny ovens suffer from.


Regards
helenjp (who is listening to a just-for-me violin jam on the theme "I waited 36 hours for a piece of caaaaake" as I type...sounds as if some "experiments" are in order!)

#11 phlawless

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 07:13 AM

Another technique that works quite well is applying the syrup a few minutes after they come from the oven, then wrapping in plastic while still warm. I do this for wedding cake layers, and it works like a charm. You don't want to wrap them when they are hot, allow them to cool for about thirty minutes, but trust me, they'll be dense and moist and incredibly easy to slice.
"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

#12 helenjp

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 02:14 AM

12 pound cakes later...

I got a bit carried away remembering cakes I hadn't made in years...a marbled green(green tea), yellow (grated fresh ginger), and purple (purple sweet potato powder) one came out looking great and tasting pretty good too!

While I was trolling through old recipes, I realized that many US "pound" cakes actually had up to twice the classic proportions of sugar. Any idea why that should be? Does your stronger flour create more volume that requires more sweetening?

I wasn't as happy with the yogurt and sour cream ones as I expected...I remember that the yogurt cake I normally make uses oil and not butter, and it is not as heavy.

Thanks for the wrap-while-warm hint! Those cakes that escaped the Quality Control Committee are now wrapped and stored out of sight...

Regards

#13 prasantrin

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 07:33 AM

While I was trolling through old recipes, I realized that many  US "pound" cakes actually had up to twice the classic proportions of sugar. Any idea why that should be? Does your stronger flour create more volume that requires more sweetening?

I think it's just a matter of preference. Americans (and Canadians) seem to prefer much sweeter baked goods than Japanese do. Compare something like a Japanese-made Oreo cookie to an American-made one, and you can really taste the difference.

I used to reduce sugar amounts in recipes by about 1/3 in order for my Japanese friends to eat them. Otherwise I'd be stuck eating everything by myself.

I got a bit carried away remembering cakes I hadn't made in years...a marbled green(green tea), yellow (grated fresh ginger), and purple (purple sweet potato powder) one came out looking great and tasting pretty good too!


Hmm, green tea, ginger, and ube pound cakes? Yum! Care to share the recipes?

#14 beans

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 07:42 AM

Hmm, green tea, ginger, and ube pound cakes? Yum! Care to share the recipes?

Yum, seconded. :wub:

Please do if you can. Those sound lovely.

#15 helenjp

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 12:17 AM

Recipe for tricolor Japanese pound cake...utterly standard recipe is best for this one, preferably a bit on the dry side, so that you can add yogurt to the colorant powders, as the acidity makes the color brighter.

For a pound cake using 4-6 eggs. Divide mix into thirds (one third quite a bit more generous than the others). To the largest third, add at least a teaspoonful of grated fresh ginger. To one of the remaining thirds, add 1 tablespoon of green tea, either as is, or mixed with yogurt. To the last third, add 1 tablespoon of purple powdered sweet potato (a new product here in Japan) -- lots of fun to use, but definitely brighter if mixed with lemon juice or yogurt). Spoon different colors of mix into your prepared baking pan, thinking about the cross-section, not about how the cake looks from the top! Smooth a little with a spoon dipped in milk (the purple powder is starchier than the others, so the mix will be a little stiffer) and bake as normal. When baked, brush with a little syrup and scatter with black sesame seeds if you like.

I was pleased with the flavors as well as the colors -- the warmth of the ginger works nicely with the faint bitterness of the tea.

Regarding sugar...I know that in NZ people commonly reduce sugar in US recipes by 1/3 or 1/2...but I was a bit surprised to see such a difference in a "classic" recipe!

#16 celenes

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 05:47 PM

Hi All,

I made a pound cake on yesterday using cream cheese which is something I have never done before. Luckily things turned out great!!!

I have traditionally made the standard pound cake.

My question is I used 8 ozs. of the block regular cream cheese is it feasible to use the soft flavored cream cheese and get the same result?
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#17 JustKay

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 06:37 PM

This is how I make mine:

8oz cream cheese
1C butter
1/4C sour milk (actual recipe calls for buttermilk, but we don't have that here)
2 1/2C caster sugar
6 egg yolks
1t butter flavor extract
1t vanilla
2 2/3C flour
1/4t salt
1/4t baking powder
6 egg whites

I bake it in a bundt pan. It is flavorful and moist and stays moist. Freezes well too.

Would you care to share your recipe please?

My MIL loves this cake but she's diabetic. And I have no idea how to substitute the sugar. :sad:

edited to say : Sorry I can't help with your question as I don't think we have flavored cream cheese here. Interesting though.

Edited by kew, 10 May 2004 - 06:39 PM.


#18 JanKK

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:02 PM

Celenes --I've been sitting here pondering your question ---and I don't see any reason that it wouldn't work. I suspect you'd have to experiment a bit because you probably could reduce the sugar a bit. I'd read the ingredient list and see what's actually in the flavored stuff.

Kew....just a question ...why do you use the butter flavor extract?
Also ....I was reading another thread here about using artificial sweeteners --and one that came up was something called WheyLow --it's actually not artificial, but a combination of table sugar, milk sugar, and fruit sugar. They claim it has only 1/4 the impact of regular sugar. Everyone who's tried it and commented has said it tastes and bakes just like sugar. You might want to take a look at that thread. I just ordered some to give it a try.

--Jan

#19 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:17 PM

I ditto JanKK's response.......I don't see why you couldn't. But I'm not totally sure why you'd want to for these reasons: the flavored cheeses cost more money, I think you can get a better flavor all on your own.

So I guess I'd ask you, why do you want to use a flavored cream cheese spread? Is there a flavor that you want to achieve and don't know how to adjust your recipe to acheive it?

Also if your new to using cream cheese in baked goods-as Martha would say "they're a good thing", sorry had to write that. Seriously cream cheese, sour cream, buttermilk all add extra fat=/flavor/moisture to baked goods. Very often/typically recipes that include these ingredients in addition to your regular butter, flour, eggs are recipes worth trying and even seeking (in some items) in recipes, there like a little extra insurance that this item won't be dry.

#20 JustKay

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:33 PM

Kew....just a question ...why do you use the butter flavor extract?
Also ....I was reading another thread here about using artificial sweeteners --and one that came up was something called WheyLow --it's actually not artificial, but a combination of table sugar, milk sugar, and fruit sugar.  They claim it has only 1/4 the impact of regular sugar.  Everyone who's tried it and commented has said it tastes and bakes just like sugar.  You might want to take a look at that thread.  I just ordered some to give it a try.

--Jan

Jan,

Thanks for the tip about WheyLow. It definitely looks like a good substitute. I'll look out for it but it's a pain most times coz we don't get those fancy things (especially new stuff) here in my country. Do tell me how it turns out after you've tried it.

Hmph ... I use the butter flavor extract to enhance the butter flavor? Just like using the sour milk (I actually use soured evaporated milk) to make it more 'fatty' and 'moist-er'? They are just tips shared by friends - I tried it and IMO, makes it a better cake. :smile: The recipe will work too if you just use 2t vanilla and increase the butter by 1/4C.

Care to share your favorite Cream Cheese Pound Cake? I would definitely give it a try (one of these days ... too many recipes, too little time! :biggrin: ).

Wendy,

"So I guess I'd ask you, why do you want to use a flavored cream cheese spread?"

Ah, I thought you aren't supposed to use cream cheese spread but cream cheese blocks for baking? We do have flavored cream cheese spread but I think they're onion flavored. :blink:

Urgh, how do I do a double quote?

Edited by kew, 10 May 2004 - 08:38 PM.


#21 KarenS

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:50 PM

A diabetic would not want to be eating butter and cream cheese either- those are major calories!

#22 JustKay

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:03 PM

A diabetic would not want to be eating butter and cream cheese either- those are major calories!

LOL! Yes, but a little less 'sin-ner' with the sugar taken care of. She really likes this cake.

#23 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:24 PM

Wendy,

"So I guess I'd ask you, why do you want to use a flavored cream cheese spread?"

Ah, I thought you aren't supposed to use cream cheese spread but cream cheese blocks for baking? We do have flavored cream cheese spread but I think they're onion flavored. :blink:


Yes Kew your right, typically you use dense blocks of cream cheese for baking. BUT the question was, could they subsitute one for the other. I don't ever buy that type of cream cheese-BUT to the best of my knowledge there isn't anything in those spreads that would prevent you from doing a equal weight subsitution. The main thing is you can't do an equal volume subsitution because the flavored softened cheese has alot of air whipped into it.

It would be a darn good idea to look at the ingredient list on the flavored spread AND perhaps they do vary from brand to brand, are they pure cheese? Does it include anything other then whipped cheese and flavoring?


What country do you live in Kew (just curious since I've never really traveled and don't know much about other countries)? In the States where I'm at you can buy almost any flavor and combination in these spreads that you can dream of........and some that seem down right gross to me.

#24 JustKay

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:55 PM

[scratching head here] just how do I do the multiple quotes?[/end scratching]

It didn't occur to me, Wendy - about weight rather than volume substitution. So, thanks. Anyways, the blocks are cheaper then the spread. And I do think they incude some other things in it. I'll check anyways so that if the blocks aren't unavailable I don't go mall hopping to find the cream cheese blocks!

I just went to the Kraft site and indeed you have too many cream cheese spread flavors! My DH and DS would go nuts :blink:

I am from Malaysia (I hope you have heard of it before. LOL!) I've just 'connected' with TP and hopefully with Shiewie soon, so perhaps we can have a Malaysian eGullet cake testing thing or something one of these days. :biggrin:

Well, if there's anything you'd like to know about my country or perhaps any dishes or recipes that you come across and am curious about, please feel free to ask. :smile:

I am rather familiar with the more common things American as I have friends there with whom I swap stuff. We do get a lot of things American here too but not everything (of course). I lived in Canada for while (and am missing it much).

And I am enjoying eGullet so far. :biggrin:

#25 celenes

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 07:28 PM

Thank you all for your thoughts. I really appreciate the feedback.

Sinclair you are correct I suppose I am looking to achieve different flavors and I thought utilizing the cream cheese spread in equal measurement would help me accomplish that.

So with that said, suppose I wanted to make pineapple flavored or strawberry etc. What would you recommend?
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Lydia (aka celenes)

#26 lorea

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 08:38 PM

I would think that using flavored cream cheese would make the flavored part kind of muted. I think you'd probably get much better results with folding in a fruit puree into your final batter.

Mayhaw Man mentioned something about a Peach Pound Cake in an eG thread, and it sounded so wonderful I asked him to post it to Recipe Gullet. I haven't tried it yet as peaches aren't in season yet, but here it is: Peach Pound Cake.




To do the quote thing, just click on the "Quote" button at the top left hand side of the person you want to quote.

#27 JustKay

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 09:57 PM

To do the quote thing, just click on the "Quote" button at the top left hand side of the person you want to quote.

I meant the multiple quotes within a post. Not the multiple 'quotes within a quote' quote.

I digresss ....

#28 achevres

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 11:26 AM

Last week I made what to my taste was the perfect pound cake: moist, buttery with a hint of lemon, easy to slice, and yellow inside. Here is the recipe: Cook's Illustrated Lemon Pound Cake. This morning I made it again and the cake inside is a toasty brown color (like toasted bread). Does anyone know what happened?

I did the recipe the same way both times, following the recipe almost to the letter. The only thing I did different from the recipe was that I sifted in the flour directly into the food processor and then pulsed it 4-5 times, until the flour almost disappeared and then whisked the batter in the processor bowl a few times to make sure everything was invcorporated. I did this exactly the same both times (I've made many cakes in the food processor). The color of the batter was the same both times. Also, both times I used half the glaze amount.

The only minor thing I did different was that I used store brand butter the first (perfect) time and the second time used 1/3 store brand butter and 2/3 Keller's butter (a premium brand).

And the recipe I have, from a freebie Cook's Illustrated, specifies 1 teaspoon vanilla, so that's what I used, both times.

I used the same oven, the same pan and the same baking time. The second one looked absolutely beautiful and I made it to bring to work to welcome a good friend who had been on leave. Then I saw it inside. Yikes! :blink: It was the color of toasted bread. It was moist and tasted pretty good, but not as good as the first one. This second one tasted a tad less sweet. People at work ate it, but I'm mistified.

Now, obviously, I messed up somewhere, but in my mind I did everything correctly both times. Does anyone have any idea what mistake I could have made? For example, too much of something? I searched on baking911.com but it didn't talk about this poundcake problem. My only guess is that the oven went off kilter this week and it was too hot, but why would it be brown AND still moist? I have overbaked before, a long, long time ago, thank goodness, but the inside color never changed.

#29 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 09:26 PM

I'm sorry I can't answer your question although I had the same thing happen to me once when making Pannetone (?). Anyways, I am also looking for a killer lemon pound cake. I have already set that recipe aside to try although I haven't yet. I was wondering if the glaze stayed gooey or did it dry and get crisp on top? I saw some lemon loaves at a market whose glaze was dry and it gave a really nice look. Just wondering. :)
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#30 achevres

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 07:45 AM

The glaze dries up crisp. The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar, but that made a lot of glaze. It also calls for poking holes so it soaks in. I did poke the holes, but for me half the glaze amount was sufficient.

I also wanted to add my own tip for this recipe: after the cake bakes for the first 15 minutes make a slit with a sharp knife on the top of the cake, the long way, so that it splits evenly as it rises. The first time I didn't do this and it formed a weird shape on its own. With the slit it looks very professional.





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