For a perfect dessert that just begs to share a plate with whipped cream and fruit, look no further than a pound cake. It's that perfect loaf of sweet, cakey bread that's soft, almost sponge-like in texture. A great pound cake should be moist, not too dense, and it should also not be over-complicated either in creation or in taste.
The first step was figuring out how to get that nice, light, moist texture to the cake. The trick was to use slightly-less-than room temperature butter and eggs (about 60 degrees or so). Using the slightly colder ingredients prevented the pound cake from collapsing in on itself. Using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour also helped preserve the moisture in the loaf, and keeping a delicate hand folding the flour into the batter instead of mixing or blending finished it off so we ended up with the perfect pound cake. Keep reading below for our recipe…
Perfect Pound Cake
(makes 8 servings)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and place in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to soften slightly, letting the butter reach about 60F. Using a fork, beat the eggs, egg yolks, milk, and vanilla in a measuring cup until combined. Lett the egg mixture stand at room temperature until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously grease the a 9″X5″ loaf pan with butter, then dust with flour and knock out the excess.
- In the large bowl, beat together the salt and butter until shiny, smooth, and creamy, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl so all the butter is mixed. Gradually add in the sugar while mixing. Continue to mix and beat until the sugar mixture is fluffy and almost white in color. Once it reaches that texture, gradually add the egg mixture while continuing to beat, again making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue to beat the mixture until it's light and fluffy.
- Once the butter mixture is light and fluffy, sift 3/4 cup of the flour over the butter and eggs, folding gently with a rubber spatula until combined. Repeat this once more, making sure to scrape down the bowl so the batter is homogeneous. Repeat a third time, adding in the last 1/2 cup and gently folding until just incorporated.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until golden brown (about 60-65minutes). Insert a skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, the pound cake is done. Cool the cake pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, invert the cake onto the wire rack, then turn the cake right side up. Cool the cake on the rack to room temperature (about 2 hours). Slice and serve.
Recipe adapted fromMartha Stewart