According to Larousse Gastronomique, the pound cake originated in England before traveling to France and, eventually, to America, where it became the basis for the American butter cake. The pound cake takes its name from the recipe, which originally called for a pound of eggs, a pound of flour, a pound of butter, and a pound of sugar.
Master baker Rose Levy Beranbaum used the pound cake as a starting point for developing her other cake recipes in The Cake Bible. When she created her pound cake recipe, she started with the traditional recipe and tweaked it to make the perfect, tender, buttery pound cake. Her pound cake recipe includes milk (for moisture), extra butter (for a tender crumb and excellent flavor), and baking powder (also for a tender crumb).
After making the Shirley O’Corriher pound cake, with fifteen ingredients and complicated multiple steps, Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipe was a breeze. And I actually liked this pound cake more – I loved the deep, rich, buttery flavor of the cake, which O’Corriher’s recipe lacked. While this cake wasn’t quite as “melt-in-your” mouth as O’Corriher’s texture-wise, it was also much less sweet, which was much more to my taste.
So far, this looks like it may become my go-to recipe for pound cake, although who knows what the rest of the Pound Cake Project has in store.
Perfect Pound Cake
Adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
3 Tablespoons milk
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups sifted cake flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
13 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 inch by 4 by 2.5 inch loaf pan, or any six cup loaf or fluted tube pan.
Lightly whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.
Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, until blended. Add the butter and half the egg mixture, and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. On medium speed, beat for one minute. This will aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down sides.
Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down sides.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth surface with a spatula. Bake for 55-65 minutes (35-45 minutes if baking in a fluted tube pan), until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minuets before inverting onto a greased wire rack. If using a loaf pan, flip the cake over so the top is up.