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helenjp

The Best Pound Cake

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OK...so now I'm curious. What makes a cake a "pound cake"?? I have a recipe for a fabulous vanilla coffee cake (it uses 5t vanilla in the recipe). It's light yet dense at the same time...go figure. Fabulous flavor...buttery...yum! I make in a Bundt pan...it's always reminded me of "pound cake" but it's not called that. Here are the ingredients...what would need to change -- if anything -- in order for it to be a pound cake? (Maybe it's the sour cream?)

2 sticks butter, room temperature

1C sugar

3 eggs

2-1/2C flour

2t baking powder

1t baking soda

1t salt

1C sour cream

5t vanilla

Either way, this thread is making me drool!!!!

Nina

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I used Flo Braker's vanilla pound cake in Baking with Julia tonight. No picture...I am clean out of batteries.

The cake is very similar to Becca's cake, except it uses 2 cups of sugar for 3 cups of flour...I guess it must be that extra cup of sugar in Becca's cake that gives it that amazing crunchy crust. The crust on Flo's cake is not as crisp, but it's still very tasty. The cake itself is a bit lighter than Becca's cake--3 eggs vs. 5 eggs 2 yolks. I used heavy cream in Flo's cake, though it specifies milk...since Becca's cake uses heavy cream too.

Overall, I still like Becca's cake more.

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Here's what the pound cake looks like. Several days later, and its still great stuff. Sweet, dense, vanilla goodness.

gallery_23736_355_15856.jpg

It always tastes so much better having sat around a bit.

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Becca -- Pound Cake is my dad's very favorite. But he doesn't like it really sweet. Whenever I bake things for him, I usually cut the sugar back by at least 1/3. And often half.

Do you think I could make your recipe and only use 2 cups of sugar, rather than the 3 cups called for and still have the cake turn out properly texture-wise, but just not so sweet?


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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^I'm not Becca, but I'm going to guess it'll be OK. I did Flo's recipe last night and it was very similar to Becca's, but with 2 cups of sugar.

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I made a cream cheese pound cake and just for kix, baked it from cold.

It was a huge recipe, so by the time it was cooked (all in one pan) it had quite a crust on it. I wrapped it in a linen towel and put it in a loose polythene bag overnight.

By morning the crust had softened, but the cake was on the dangerous end of "moist" - not too far off soggy. Great toasted though!

24 hours after baking, the lemon flavor had mellowed, and the cake had an even, moist, but no longer stodgy texture.

...Pity there's none left, now that it's perfect :raz::raz:

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^I'm not Becca, but I'm going to guess it'll be OK. I did Flo's recipe last night and it was very similar to Becca's, but with 2 cups of sugar.

Hey, thanks. :rolleyes:

I guess the best thing is just to try it. After all, if it doesn't work, it's not like I've lost that much.

Cutting back on the sugar works fine with the Cook's Illustrated recipe, so......

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Ok I finally got around to making Becca's recipe today. I've only tried one piece but I found it a little too sweet. I also noticed that it was really eggy? Everyone's looks lighter in color than mine. Will the sweetness mellow out? I tried an end piece a few hours after baking. What did I do wrong? I did add an extra egg yolk but I couldn't remember WHY I did. The batter was really thick and I think I used too small of pans. Pictures to follow.

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I'm not sure what might have happened. Quite a few things could go wrong.

*Was your butter and eggs at room temp?

*Did you sift the flour three times?

*Did you beat the mixture sufficiently?

*Did you start in a cold oven?

It sounds like it didn't get as light as it should be. I'm not sure if 1 extra yolk would make a difference. It might though.

Pound cake can be a little sweet. I serve everything with strong black coffee to cut the sweetness. Also unsweetened whipped cream is great.

-Becca

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Ok I finally had a chance to post a picture. Here's the pound cake I made sunday. I'm still munching on it! I don't know if my tastebuds were out of whack or if it settled down after a day but the next day I tried it again and totally nummy! I did forget to sift! Oops. I have a bad tendency of writing all the ingredients down, reading the instructions, and going of into the kitchen to cook. I think I forgot to do something else too but don't remember now. Either way I'm really happy with it now. I'm taking the one I froze to a girl's night dinner tomorrow and I featured it on my blog for Tea Time Thursdays. Thanks for all the help and Becca wonderful recipe!

Next time I will faithfully follow all instructions and see if it comes out different.

gallery_39656_2144_16259.jpg

Maybe I didn't mix enough? I do remember that the butter was a bit hard. I'm sure it's totally my fault as I'm still a novice baker and nothing to do with Becca's recipe. I also remember that it took a little longer than 1 hr and 20 mins. I think mine took about 10 more minutes. Did I over cook it? I wasn't sure what I was looking for. I put the cake thingy in and it kept coming up wet. Then I had to leave so I had my roomie turn of the oven and she left the cakes in there.


Edited by OnigiriFB (log)

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Maybe I didn't mix enough? I do remember that the butter was a bit hard.

To soften your butter, bang it into the microwave on high for 5 seconds at a time, until you can poke your finger through it. (Don't go so far as to melt your butter, however.)

The other lesson is to never leave the critical end process to another person. (Ex. Never take calls when your cake is nearly done. Not that I have ever done this... :raz:)

When your cakes are done their done, switch off the oven and take 'em out. The crusts do look a little brown.


Edited by sanrensho (log)

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Maybe I didn't mix enough? I do remember that the butter was a bit hard.

Your picture reminds me of the Elvis Presley pound cake I made awhile ago--there are areas where the cake looks denser in your picture (near the top and bottom) and I think I didn't beat my EP pound cake long enough. :smile:


Edited by Ling (log)

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I think smaller pans are key.  Mine tasted great, were very moist, but the 1/2 I put in the large loaf pan sunk, while the ones I split over three loaf pans did better.  Although, I'm wondering if my baking powder is kaput.  Could that be a factor in a sinking center, or would it be more like overcooking?

Edited to day: This recipe is much better than the Perfect Pound Cake recipe in the Cake Bible.  I think the heavy cream is key.

Tried the recipe again this week. Sifted (well, took the ingredients for a spin in the food processor, a la Alton Brown) three times, used C&H Baker's Sugar, Robin Hood Pastry Flour (it was the lowest protein flour I had on hand), beat extra and poured into a Bundt pan. This time it turned out exactly like everyone's pictures - light and lovely, pale, even crumb, crunchy good crust, moist. But not as moist or dense as the version I did with KA Flour and Golden Castor Sugar. It was a nice experiment that proves that good stuff can be made from non-specialty ingredients.

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I made the recipe that I have in recipe gullet for Peach Pound cake, but substituted, one for one, with fresh strawberries (both the chopped and the puree). It was served at dinner the other night to people who I like to think know a bit about good cake and when I tell you that there wasn't a crumb left, I'm not kidding. All chefs and foodwriters, gluttons all, and there was nothing left. Of course, these are the same people who ate all of the Hubig's in the cupboard before dinner-so they may not be the most highly selective judges.

The only thing about that recipe is that you really have to test it with a straw as you go, especially with the strawberries, as it is pretty moist no matter what, so you'll have to use your best judgement. It's awfully good though, and a true pound cake (pound of all 4 major ingredients-milk, flour, egg, sugar). I highly reccomend it.

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Ling, I have to say that I was kind of hurt the other day when I read your reply about the EP pound cake, because I still think it's delicious, and remember, I did admonish to be sure to beat the cake batter as much as it says to in the recipe. I even beat more in between each addition of the eggs. You said it was too dense, but here in the south, as I, the token Yankee in the kitchen, am learning, a pound cake has to be dense. So, I beat the be-jeezus out of it. I've made it marbled, adding a yolk, 5 oz. of 58% bittersweet, melted, and 1/2 cup cocoa powder to the chocolate part, and I always scrape a whole Bourbon vanilla bean in the vanilla part. I've made it part of the Baked Tennessee, our new "special occasion" cake that people celebrating anniversaries or birthdays get before their dessert. I layer it with Chocolate-Sorghum ice cream and cover it with vanilla bean-y swiss meringue, then pour moonshine over it to torch it. It has to be pre-torched before it goes in the dining room, because the moonshine, believe it or not, isn't volatile enough to keep it lit! Anyway, I love it! If I can find the Chef's digital camera, I will send photos of all the variations.

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Ling, I have to say that I was kind of hurt the other day when I read your reply about the EP pound cake, because I still think it's delicious, and remember, I did admonish to be sure to beat the cake batter as much as it says to in the recipe. 

I didn't mean to hurt you or personally offend you. I did acknowledge that I was rushing through that recipe because I had to get to work and probably didn't beat the cake enough. Your variations sound delicious and I look forward to the pictures. :smile:

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I have put my pound cake recipe into RecipeGullet. It is tiltled Cold Oven Pound Cake. It is here:  http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r1598.html

:wub:

I'm making your recipe right now; its in the oven. I used 5 eggs and a yolk, and doubled the vanilla like Patrick did.

I have never made a pound cake because I always believed them to be boring, having never had a good one, but after reading this thread, I couldn't resist any longer. Your recipe sounded the best based on what everyone has said. No pressure though :laugh:

Anyway, I'll post when it is done; I'm sure it will be great.

Alan

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Okay, results:

Becca's recipe makes the best pound cake I've ever had; moist, buttery, almost creamy, and with a perfect crumb. Let me clarify how I did things:

1) I used cake flour

2) I added a bit of extra salt, and this offsets the sweetness that allows for the excellent carmel-brown crust.

3) I used 5 eggs and 1 yolk

4) I doubled the vanilla

5) I cooked the cakes for 50 minutes

These really are the best pound cakes ever. The cake is good both by itself, and as a base for fresh strawberry shortcake with a really good vanilla ice cream. You can trust me on that. :wink:

Thanks for the recipe!

Alan

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Thanks for the review, Alan.

Like you, I've never found pound cake particularly exciting, but I feel compelled to keep trying different versions. I'll try Becca's version with your changes.

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I am so glad everyone is having luck with it.

I just ordered 4 pounds of butter from Smith Creamery in Mt. Hermon, LA. They won the national butter tasting in the Rosengarten Report. I am excited about trying this recipe with it.

I will let you all know how it turns out!

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I tryed Becca's pound cake recipe last week. It's very good. I need to bake Friebergs pound cake and do a side by side taste test. As I recall, I think I like Friebergs a little more. But it all depends upon what your looking for. Friebergs has a more tender crumb and I think a dash of almond extract........where as Becca's is more like a butter cake. Both delish.

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I made Becca's cake again last night with the cream & I also doubled the vanilla. It's such a great recipe. I'm serving that tonight with some strawberry ice cream I made for my daughter's sleep over tonight.

I do however really like the lemon version I made. I substitued creme fraiche in the first batch & then I made it with some thinned out sour cream.

I used the 5 egg & 2 yolk recipe, used 3/4 c. sour cream & 1/4 cup cream,omitted the vanilla & used lemon juice & added the finely chopped zest of 3 lemons. It just cuts through all that sugar really nicely. It's still a bit sweet but the lemon flavor really comes through. Topeed with a lemon glaze it is just killer. I served that with some mango ice cream for my girls & that is what they want all the time now.

Thanks to Becca for sharing this recipe. I've become a pound cake making fool the last few weeks. :biggrin:

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I am sad that no one wants to give my Million Dollar Pound Cake a try. :sad:

It is really good.

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I am sad that no one wants to give my Million Dollar Pound Cake a try.  :sad:

It is really good.

I'll bet it is!

I think people may be latching on to the cakes which have tricks -- cold ovens, heavy cream, cream cheese...that sort of thing. Yours looks great, though. I put it in my Mastercook file.

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