Simple (True) Pound Cake
Break out your kitchen scales, ladies and gents. This bake is all about weighing your ingredients. And simplicity, above all else. What am I talking about, you ask? Pound cake, dear readers. I’m talking about pound cake.
No, not one of those pound cakes that has cream cheese or sour cream or a great big swirl of chocolate cake in the middle, although those are delicious and wonderful in their own way. I’m not even talking about lemon pound cake, which I love. Seriously, if you ever want to get on my good side, bring me lemon flavored anything.
But I digress. The reason I say this simple bake is all about weighing your ingredients is because that’s how you make a “true” pound cake. If you didn’t already know, the “pound” in pound cake doesn’t come from the cake weighing a pound when it’s finished. A true, old fashioned, legit pound cake gets its name because you use a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour when making your cake. It makes sense, right?
A true pound cake, like this one, will be dense, buttery, and…a word that starts with “m” and rhymes with “hoist” that I happen to despise and can’t say. When left to cool, the part of the pound cake that eventually forms the bottom of the cake, gets a delightful, sticky sweet texture, that I’m sure you’ll love. It’s almost like the top of a store bought corn muffin. The outside of the cake should have the slightest crunch to it. It is, simply put, wonderful.
When making a pound cake, you have the option of adding in extracts, zests, or other flavorings, depending on your preference. In this case, I chose to add in half almond and half vanilla extract. While not required for a great pound cake, I hope you’ll love the addition of those flavorings as I do. They really do add too the cake. Next time I make this pound cake, I may experiment with adding in lemon extract. As always, I encourage you to experiment and find what flavorings work best for you.
A few notes about this recipe:
(1) You can absolutely bake these in bread pans, if you don’t have a bundt pan, but you’ll have adjust the baking time because of the decreased volume. I’d suggest starting to check them after about a half hour.
(2) The water icing is totally optional, but it does add a bit more sweetness, if you’re looking for that.
(3) Weight out your eggs AFTER cracking them into a bowl. Some “true” pound cake recipes call for X number of eggs, but I prefer this method because it ensures that you actually get a pound of eggs. If you were to use a particular number of eggs, there’s a very good chance that you might end up with more or less than you actually need because of natural variances in the size of your eggs.
(4) If you’re in the market for a food scale, I recommend this one. I used this one for years before it finally gave up on me and I upgraded to a Taylor brand scale that I got from Costco earlier this year. It’s nice and compact, easy to clean, and has a large display.
Now, go out there and live your best life with this pound cake!
True Pound Cake
A "true" pound cake, made the old fashioned way. This is probably one of the easiest recipes to remember because you need the exact same amount of every ingredient. Try mixing up the extracts you use or adding in citrus zest for a slightly different flavor.
- 1 pound butter, softened
- 1 pound granulated sugar
- 1 pound all-purpose flour
- 1 pound large eggs You'll want to crack the eggs and weigh them into a bowl. For me, this was 8 large eggs.
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup icing sugar Icing sugar may also be called powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- Enough water to make a "drip-able" icing, starting with 1-2 tbsp at a time
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 12-cup bundt pan by greasing well.
In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer and a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light yellow and very fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating well between additions. Scrape the sides of the bowl several times with a rubber spatula several times throughout this process.
Slowly and carefully incorporate the flour. Mix until smooth. Add in the extracts and mix well. Be careful not to over beat, however. I like to do this on the stir setting for about 15-20 seconds.
Pour into your well-greased bundt pan, taking care to smooth out the batter as much as possible. Bake for 50 to 75 minutes or until a medium golden brown and well risen. When done, a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean and there should be a "crack" in the middle of the cake.
Let cool before serving.
If you choose to add the icing, make sure that the cake is completely before you top the cake. To make the icing, mix together the icing sugar and extract. Add water one tablespoon at a time until it reaches a consistency that you like. Mine was similar to a store bought caramel or chocolate sauce: not too thin, not too thick.