Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pound Cake

Pound cake. Pound Cake. Pound cake. A staple for family reunions, holidays, and church dinners.  I think everyone's family has a recipe handed down from grandma that is a go-to. Our family variety includes raisins and nuts and dumping your flour into your sugar box to measure it - yes that's how my great-grandmother wrote it- and that's how we make it.
This round of pound cake is a little more traditional than my great-grandma made it (shhh... don't tell my family) and it is as easy as it sounds. Let's look at some receipts.

American Cookery, Amelia Simmons, 1789

The Virginia Housewife, Mary Randolph, 1838

Practical Cook Book, Mrs. Bliss, 1850

So while I did not use an exact recipe- I guess you can say I followed Amelia Simmons the closest. One Pound Flour, One Pound Sugar, One Pound Butter, One Pound eggs, and some Vanilla. 
Start by getting your eggs and butter at room temperature- most bakers will tell you this- it allows your ingredients to incorporate better. Also, if you can find good butter, buy good butter! The best butter you can get! I prefer Kerrygold, Irish butter- yes it is a bit pricey- but it makes all the difference. 
My favorite butter to bake with
Now, cream that butter!!! With your sugar- one pound of sugar- yes one pound- weigh it. Really cream the butter and sugar together- they will be almost white and very, very fluffy. I run mine for 6 to 7 to 8 minutes on medium- just watch it. 

Fluffy butter and sugar! 

Now, that that is combined add  one pound of eggs-lightly beaten and one pound of flour- yes one pound of each. If you do not already have one-invest in a kitchen scale for serious baking- and other things. One pound! This is a pound cake after all!
Weight=1 pound!
Now, this make take a little while. Add your eggs and flour alternately in thirds, mixing well. This is where I add my flavor as well- Amelia  Simmons suggests Rose Water, and while it is in my pantry, these cakes are for a big group of people, so I stuck with vanilla- but I sometimes I wish I had put in the Rose Water for that "true" flavor. By now you should have a pretty thick, fluffy batter-isn't it lovely?!? I  used two loaf pans for mine, but a regular pound cake pan will work just fine. 
Start with a cold oven turned to 275*, bake for 15-20 mins, turn cakes and crank oven to 350* for about 30 more minutes! This will make a lovely crust (which is my favorite part!) 

Ta-da! Lovely Cake!

I know this is not the "period way" to do it with a stand mixer, but I was pushed for time ( and had to crank out 10 of these babies!)- but you can follow all of the steps with a period tools and techniques. The recipe has been unchanged for years- but as I said earlier- every family has its various flavors, as is also evident with the historic recipes. 

Now- enjoy your cake! 

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