I love, love, love the versatility of pound cake. It’s good on its own, with ice cream, or as breakfast (yes, as a child, I regularly had slices of Sara Lee pound cake with milk as breakfast. What? Is it any worse than a muffin or a croissant?). I’ve made a few over the years, but my favorite is from the Best Recipe Cookbook. It’s relatively easy, and the resulting cake is moist, not overly sweet, and just the right combination of fluffy and dense. The one I made yesterday for dessert when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law came over for dinner is almost gone now. So, really, the sensible thing to do would be to make two. 😉
Best Recipes Cookbook Pound Cake
Makes one loaf
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/3 cups sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1.5 teaspoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs plus three large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1.5 cups cake flour
- A loaf pan
- Parchment or wax paper
With a mixer (handheld is fine; that’s what I always use), beat the butter until it’s smooth and shiny, about 15 seconds.
While the beater is still on, sprinkle in the sugar (the original recipe says to add the sugar over the course of 30 seconds, but you don’t have to be precise about it). Mix the sugar and butter at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and almost white, about 4 or 5 minutes.
In a large (two-cup capacity) measuring cup, mix together the eggs, vanilla extract and water. While the mixer (or beater) is on, slowly pour the egg mixture into the butter/sugar mixture in a steady stream.
Sift a half cup of the cake flour onto the surface of the batter. With a spatula, gently fold the flour into the batter, mixing from the bottom up. Once incorporated, repeat with another half cup of flour and fold into the batter. Repeat once more with the last half cup of flour.
Grease the loaf pan with cooking spray, then line it with two sheets of wax or parchment paper (one lengthwise across the pan, the other width wise).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to smooth the top. If you’re using wax paper (instead of parchment paper), trim off much of the excess wax paper overhang after you’ve poured in the batter. Otherwise, the wax paper will burn in the oven, creating a horrible, acrid odor. Ew!
Bake in the preheated oven for 70 to 80 minutes, or until a toothpick or fork inserted into the crack that forms along the top of the cake comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, lift the cake out of the pan (using the parchment or wax paper overhang as handles), and let it cool completely on a wire rack. When the cake is cool, peel off the paper.