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The Best Pound Cake


helenjp
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I looked for the recipe in my copies of Maida's books, and it's in the newest book of great desserts. The instructions for beating the eggs reads: "In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs with the vanilla and sugar at high speed for 25 minutes or until the mixture is pale and falls in a slow ribbon when the beaters are raised."

She uses a Sunbeam Mixmaster stand mixer, which I don't think is as powerful as your Kenwood (probably where she got the 25 mins from, she also uses cold eggs) and to Annie's point, the eggs are beaten to the ribbon stage - then the COOLED melted butter is beaten in at low speed and then the dry ingredients only until incorporated. She says that adding the butter and dry should only take seconds. This reminds me of a genoise. She does caution that this is easy to mess up either by over or underbeating the eggs or beating too much after the butter/dry.... she ends the recipe with "good luck" :biggrin:

Annie, PM me if you want me to fax over the recipe as written ....

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The simplest way I can see to tackle this is to set up some trial runs. Make a list of all the sensible single variations that may get you closer to the right result. Then (gack) do each of them. It's a very brute force method, but when you can compare many samples it gets a lot easier to identify what is closer to right and what is closer to wrong. I've helped do this before with several baked preparations, and it's *very* educational. Side by side comparison of your various products gives you a clear idea of what each small change does.

The other side effect is the massive repetition may give you a clue about minor fine points of technique. From what JeanneCake has found, it sounds like this may be one of those difficult recipes where practice matters.

Emily

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  • 2 months later...

I am resurrecting this thread to add a couple of questions. Pound cake is probably my favorite cake type. I am wondering if I can bake it as cupcakes and in layer forms? Would I need to change the temperature and what would that do to the timing.

Also - what do I need to do to make these recipes as chocolate? Thanks, Kim

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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.

After looking at you recipe in Recipegullet I realize that I just made your pound cake last week. It's the same one in my Southern Living All-time favorite recipes magazine. I reduced the milk to 1/2 cup and added 1 tsp baking powder and

1 tsp salt. I know, It's not your recipe anymore, but close. I felt it was wonderful except it could use a bit more moisture. I'm sure the extra 1/4 cup milk yours called for would have made the difference. I've been playing around with pound cakes to find the "perfect" one and one from which I could make variations based on a perfect base recipe. (hence the addition of baking powder which should help ensure rise even after adding additions such as sweet potato puree or banana, etc.) Anyway, your recipe was in my opinion, almost perfect!

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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:

Ling, looking at your pics from the EP cake, I think you are correct. It appears a bit dense, to much so, and you can see where the butter has sort of massed with the flour to become compact. Again, it's a small photo, so hard to see the true texture. I would say it needs more air.

The other point with the EP pound cake and some of the other recipes presented here goes back to the question, when is it a pound cake and not a layer cake in disguise? Traditionally, a pound cake should contain no chemical leavening, relying on the eggs and the way it is mixed to create the aeration.

With that said, I am the first to break the rules of tradition. :biggrin:

Correction: I was looking at Becca Porter's version with Elvis variation, I see the Epicurious version does not have chemical leavening.

Edited by RodneyCk (log)
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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.

After looking at you recipe in Recipegullet I realize that I just made your pound cake last week. It's the same one in my Southern Living All-time favorite recipes magazine. I reduced the milk to 1/2 cup and added 1 tsp baking powder and

1 tsp salt. I know, It's not your recipe anymore, but close. I felt it was wonderful except it could use a bit more moisture. I'm sure the extra 1/4 cup milk yours called for would have made the difference. I've been playing around with pound cakes to find the "perfect" one and one from which I could make variations based on a perfect base recipe. (hence the addition of baking powder which should help ensure rise even after adding additions such as sweet potato puree or banana, etc.) Anyway, your recipe was in my opinion, almost perfect!

I made it again this afternoon with the full amount of milk (well, actually I halved the recipe and baked in a loaf pan and so used 3/8 cup milk.). I did, however, add salt and baking powder as I did previously. It was very, very good. So far this is my favorite plain, all butter pound cake. My very favorite is still the cream cheese pound cake, but this is second place.

gallery_32488_2640_315826.jpg

edited to add picture

Edited by shaloop (log)
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I had to cross post this one. I haven't tried the recipes on this thread yet but I just had what was the best pound cake I've ever tasted.

It's from the Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock book The Gift of Southern Cooking.

It had a lemon/sugar glaze which I will omit next time.

gallery_39050_2669_326417.jpg

-mike

-Mike & Andrea

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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.

After looking at you recipe in Recipegullet I realize that I just made your pound cake last week. It's the same one in my Southern Living All-time favorite recipes magazine. I reduced the milk to 1/2 cup and added 1 tsp baking powder and

1 tsp salt. I know, It's not your recipe anymore, but close. I felt it was wonderful except it could use a bit more moisture. I'm sure the extra 1/4 cup milk yours called for would have made the difference. I've been playing around with pound cakes to find the "perfect" one and one from which I could make variations based on a perfect base recipe. (hence the addition of baking powder which should help ensure rise even after adding additions such as sweet potato puree or banana, etc.) Anyway, your recipe was in my opinion, almost perfect!

I make the Million Dollar pound cake, too. I love the texture and flavor, but have a hard time with the crown - it rises up beautifully, but it is empty and then crumbles down.

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I make the Million Dollar pound cake, too.  I love the texture and flavor, but have a hard time with the crown - it rises up beautifully, but it is empty and then crumbles down.

Do you use a heavy duty stand mixer? After I got my kitchenaid I started having that problem. I had to learn to mix my pound cakes differently. I beat my butter on med speed till soft, then add my sugar and cream till light and then add my eggs and mix, still on med, just till they blend in. Usually by the last egg or so it starts to look a little curdled. I stop the mixer and scrape down then bowl. Then I turn my mixer to speed 1, STIR, the lowest it can go. I add 1/3 of my flour and mix just till incorporated, 1/2 my liquid, 1/3 flour and 1/2 liquid. Stop, scrape down again. Back to speed 1 and last 1/3 of flour. As soon as that's in I turn it off. I scrape bowl again and make sure all ingredients are mixed in well, if not, I fold with my scraper (rubber spatula.). I think I was beating in too much air with the adding of the dry and wet ingredients and since I've changed my method it comes out beautifully.

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I make the Million Dollar pound cake, too.  I love the texture and flavor, but have a hard time with the crown - it rises up beautifully, but it is empty and then crumbles down.

Do you use a heavy duty stand mixer? After I got my kitchenaid I started having that problem. I had to learn to mix my pound cakes differently. I beat my butter on med speed till soft, then add my sugar and cream till light and then add my eggs and mix, still on med, just till they blend in. Usually by the last egg or so it starts to look a little curdled. I stop the mixer and scrape down then bowl. Then I turn my mixer to speed 1, STIR, the lowest it can go. I add 1/3 of my flour and mix just till incorporated, 1/2 my liquid, 1/3 flour and 1/2 liquid. Stop, scrape down again. Back to speed 1 and last 1/3 of flour. As soon as that's in I turn it off. I scrape bowl again and make sure all ingredients are mixed in well, if not, I fold with my scraper (rubber spatula.). I think I was beating in too much air with the adding of the dry and wet ingredients and since I've changed my method it comes out beautifully.

Thanks so much - I have decided to have a go at pound cakes (regular and chocolate) before starting my holiday baking - I want to try to perfect a poundcake cupcake, if possible and I really loved the flavor and texture of that one! Kim

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, I tried the recipe for Old Dominion Pound Cake and was not impressed. The texture was pretty good, but 5 different people all said that the flavor was very bland. I didn't forget to put in the vanilla or lemon juice, so that wasn't it. Today I am going to make Cream Cheese Pound Cake. It's shaloop's recipe, so that bodes well! I want a really tight, tight crumb - like a Sara Lee or grocery store cake, but with good, rich, homemade flavor.

I still would like some info on how to make my recipe (when I finally find the one) into a chocolate pound cake and also if I can make it into layers and cupcakes. Anyone with any experience with that?

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Today I am going to make Cream Cheese Pound Cake.  It's shaloop's recipe, so that bodes well!  I want a really tight, tight crumb - like a Sara Lee or grocery store cake, but with good, rich, homemade flavor. 

I hope I'm not too late, but, I just edited the recipe to say All purpose flour, NOT cake flour. I don't think cake flour has enough strength to support all the butter and cream cheese. I made it with cake flour recently and although very good it was somewhat crumbly.

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I made it again this afternoon with the full amount of milk (well, actually I halved the recipe and baked in a loaf pan and so used 3/8 cup milk.).  I did, however, add salt and baking powder as I did previously.  It was very, very good.  So far this is my favorite plain, all butter pound cake.  My very favorite is still the cream cheese pound cake, but this is second place.

gallery_32488_2640_315826.jpg

edited to add picture

I am so glad you like the pound cake. It is also my favorite plain pound cake.

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shaloop - Well, that could have been my problem, but I doubt it. I am so freaking aggravated with myself :angry: ! I seem to be able to make pretty, but not tasty or ugly, but tasty pound cakes - but not pretty and tasty. I had the same problem with your pound cake that I did with the million dollar pound cake. It rose up with a gorgeous, perfectly cracked golden crown. When it cooled, the crown was empty and just came off in big crunchy, yummy pieces :sad: .

I also managed to break the entire f-ing thing into 3 pieces taking it out of the pan. The pan is one of those tube pans where the bottom of the pan and the center part comes out of the outside, like this: tube pan. I did fine taking it out of the outer part of the pan and broke it when I tried to remove it from the bottom/core. This has nothing to do with the recipe, just my clumsiness.

On a positive note, my vanilla cupcakes and my coconut cupcakes (daughter's service club is purchasing for a Mad Hatter Tea Party) turned out great.

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I had the same problem with your pound cake that I did with the million dollar pound cake.  It rose up with a gorgeous, perfectly cracked golden crown.  When it cooled, the crown was empty and just came off in big crunchy, yummy pieces  :sad:

This cake is the one that caused me so many problems with the crown. I thought it was changing flours or the brand of cream cheese or butter but I finally figured out that the problems began when I got the stand mixer. I think the KA incorporates too much air and it doesn't hold once cooled. It's very important with this cake that once the creaming of the butter, sugar and cream cheese are done, turn the mixer to the very lowest (STIR) speed and mix only till each portion of flour and eggs are incorporated. I then turn it off, remove bowl and using a large rubber spatula do a few folds to make sure everything is well mixed. I also start it in a cold oven because I don't really want much oven spring with this cake. Place in cold oven, turn on to 325 F degrees and bake till wooden skewer in the middle comes out clean. Usually about 1 1/2 hrs. Hopefully these tips will help. But I'm glad you liked it otherwise. It is my absolute favorite pound cake!

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You'd have to do a little trial and error, but I'm sure you could make a pound cake with mascarpone. It doesn't have the gums and stabilizers that come with Phila Cream Cheese, so you will need to make adjustments.

Let us know what you come up with! Good Luck!

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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Just wondering: in your opinion, what's wrong with sour cream in a pound cake? Why are you looking for a substitution?

MelissaH

frustrated chemist - always want to try new combinations - not trying to lower fat content - after all pound cake is just that - pounds!!!!

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Thanks, shaloop!  I will try this method soon.  But it is really, really delicious as is! Question: do you still want me to use AP flour?  or back to cake flour?  Kim

Well, I googled several recipes for cream cheese pound cake and although some were slightly different, all said AP flour so I'd stick with all-purpose. I think it's because the ingredients are heavier. It's not a "light" cake and needs stronger flour.

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