The holidays are finally behind us and it is time to get back to work. Argh! It was nice hanging out, cooking and eating...and eating some more, visiting with friends, shopping, having days of doing absolutely nothing...but all good things must come to an end.
I have a short list of favorite desserts, although I like most sweets. If done properly, one of my absolute favorites is pound cake. Then we have cheesecake, peach cobbler, key lime pie, and coconut cake, though not necessarily in that order.
Pound cakes are very versatile and got their name because originally they contained a pound of each of the main ingredients --butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Today, pound cakes are not as dense and have varying proportions from the original pound cake. But they are moist, buttery and rich with a golden crust.
I have had some fabulous pound cakes and I have had some pretty crappy pound cakes. Here are some Helpful Tips to making a successful one:
- All ingredients must be room temperature.
- The most important step in pound cake making is creaming the butter or shortening. The air whipped into the cake during the creaming process makes the cake rise. Beat the butter or shortening until soft, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually add the sugar, beating at medium speed. Cream the butter and sugar between 5 and 10 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, and blend just until the yellow disappears (about 30 seconds). Overmixing during this stage incorporates too much air, causing the cake to overflow and fall.
- Do not expose the cake to a draft or open the door to the oven while baking.
- Measure dry ingredients by filling a mixing cup and leveling it with a knife.
- Use cake flour for a lighter, finer cake; all purpose flour for a more full cake.
- Always begin and end with flour.
- Grease and flour the cake pan to prevent the cake from sticking. Use solid shortening and not butter, margarine, or cooking spray.
- Cool the cake right side up on a wire rack for 15 minutes after removing it from the oven. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Keep away from drafts so it won't fall.
- Use fresh baking powder, baking soda and flour to keep cake from being too heavy.
- Bake cake on upper rack in oven to ensure it does not brown too quickly on bottom.
- DO NOT OVERBEAT BATTER.
Irish Cream Pound Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons Irish cream liqueur
1 cup heavy cream
Generously butter tube or Bundt pan and dust with flour.
Sift flour and salt together three times. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Mix in vanilla flavoring and Irish cream liqueur. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour, all of cream, then remaining flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down side of bowl, then beat at medium-high speed 5 minutes.
Spoon batter into prepared pan. Place pan in cold oven and turn temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out with a few crumbs, about an hour and fifteen minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around inner and outer edges of cake, invert and cool completely.
All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Virtually Everything Sweet, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.