The scent grabs you first, escaping via the nooks, crannies and crevices, in search of a prepared host. Discovering you, the candy, heat scent races towards your mind’s reminiscence middle. You’re immediately transported again in time to if you had been 7 years outdated, pulling out your first cake from the purple Straightforward Bake oven you bought for Christmas just some days earlier.
You’ll be able to’t assist your self. You want one other hit. So that you inhale deeply, taking within the scent once more. It fills your head, making you weak within the knees.
Now you’re 14 years outdated, your mom’s massive purple Betty Crocker spiral-bound cookbook open earlier than you, whilst you cream butter and sugar along with the well-used white Oster hand mixer your mom acquired as a marriage present. You then’re measuring out the flour, which, regardless of your cautious endeavors, winds up trying like snow everywhere in the entrance of your favourite T-shirt. There’s possibly even a little bit in your hair, too. Subsequent comes the cracking of the eggs, and unconsciously you’re biting your decrease lip in focus, praying no shell will get previous you. And earlier than you already know it, there’s that scent once more.
Wealthy. Nutty. Buttery. Sugary.
It smells like childhood.
It smells like residence.
That Betty Crocker butter cake was the primary from-scratch cake that I ever made. Positive, I’d been baking muffins on my own for a number of years earlier than making an attempt it, however these had been from packing containers, so do they even depend? I say no, nothing counted earlier than that first butter cake. It began a lifelong love affair.
I don’t make all of them that usually. Good butter isn’t low-cost. Plus, good butter muffins don’t have any scarcity of energy.
However typically, when the world feels notably bonkers, I get this have to revisit these moments of my youth when essentially the most important factor I needed to fear about was not overbaking my creations. And this cake does that.
I’ve thought of making a “true” pound cake for years. It’s named pound cake for the simple-to-remember elements made up of typical pantry staples within the 1700s: 1 pound butter, 1 pound sugar, 1 pound flour and 1 pound eggs. After years of studying tales of success and failure from varied sources, I made a decision a number of summers in the past that it was time.
This pound cake just isn’t the sunshine, delicate one you decide up in your native grocery bakery that leaves your fingers just a bit greasy. No. This pound cake is dense and wealthy, with a beautiful texture that slices cleanly and fares properly for toasting the subsequent day and pairing with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream.
It’s all concerning the butter
Since butter is the outstanding taste in pound cake, purchase one of the best you’ll be able to afford. I’ve tried many manufacturers, and my favourite stays Kerrygold, a beautiful yellow Irish butter from grass-fed cows. It’s a European-style butter, churned longer than your common American-made butter, leading to much less water and better butterfat. For baking, this can assist muffins rise larger, and for pie-making, much less water and better butterfat ends in flakier crusts. Two different European-style sorts of butter that I really like are Plugrá and Strauss.
For greatest outcomes, take away the butter from the fridge a half hour earlier than you’re able to bake. Leaving it out longer will make it greasy and have an effect on the cake’s texture.
This recipe has no leavening agent; the carry comes from the air crushed into the butter. A stand mixer with a whisk attachment works greatest for the fluffiest outcomes. A hand-held mixer will work; it would take a bit longer to aerate the butter completely. Simply don’t rush it.
Subsequent comes sugar
I’ve made this with powdered sugar, ultra-fine baker’s sugar and common granulated sugar. For me, one of the best texture got here from utilizing the powdered, with the ultra-fine a detailed second. Had I not made it with these two sugars first, I’m positive the granulated model would have been pleasant. I’ve listed powdered within the elements, however use whichever sugar you’ve available.
Not all eggs are created equal
What number of eggs are in a pound will rely on the scale of the egg you utilize. A big egg weighs about 2 ounces; since a pound is 16 ounces, you’ll want 8. Additional-large eggs are about 2.25 ounces. A small egg is 1.5 ounces, whereas a medium is 1.75, so you’ll be able to alter accordingly if you happen to don’t have a kitchen scale, although I extremely advocate investing in a single for baking functions. I like this one from Oxo as a result of the show is removable, so you’ll be able to weigh greater bowls with out obscuring the show.
When including the eggs to the butter and sugar, do it separately and beat till simply included, so that you don’t threat deflating the combination, and scrape down the perimeters as wanted. As soon as all of the eggs are added, and also you’re prepared to begin including the flour, you’ll want to change out the whisk attachment for the paddle.
No cake flour? No drawback!
All-purpose flour and cornstarch are two of my pantry staples. Cake flour just isn’t. So when a recipe requires cake flour, it’s comparatively simple to make a home made model in case you have cornstarch in your pantry, as you’ll use it to sub out a little bit of the flour.
To make cake flour:
- Begin by measuring 1 pound of all-purpose flour (3⅓ cups).
- With the flour nonetheless on the size, take away 8 degree tablespoons (or ½ cup, leveled; I simply discover measuring spoons to make much less of a large number).
- Add 7 to eight tablespoons of cornstarch or sufficient to deliver the load again as much as 1 pound of flour.
- Sift the flour via a mesh sieve thrice. On the third time, add ½ teaspoon advantageous sea salt (if utilizing desk salt, scale back the quantity to ¼ teaspoon)
Begin with a chilly oven
As a result of this cake has no leavening brokers, beginning with a preheated oven just isn’t essential. The excessive quantity of butter and eggs profit from a “low and gradual” bake, creating that fantastic dense texture that we search for in a satisfying chunk of pound cake. The decrease temperature for an prolonged interval additionally offers the sugar the time it must caramelize right into a splendidly crunchy crust.
This recipe makes two 9-inch loaves. After spraying the pans with baking spray (a baker must-have; it has the flour already added), I evenly divide the batter between the 2 pans. I dump many of the batter into the pans, then place them on the size whereas including the final little bit of batter, switching backwards and forwards between the pans to make sure they’re equally stuffed.
Dislodge any air bubbles by lifting the pans off the counter a number of inches and letting them drop. In the event you don’t, you’ll wind up with massive holes in a number of slices. In the event you neglect this step, don’t fret; it doesn’t have an effect on the style, simply the look of the slices.
Additionally, I didn’t do it for these photographs, however if you’d like that beautiful crack down the middle, after smoothing out the highest of the batter with a rubber spatula, run it vertically about an inch deep down the middle of the batter, primarily “slicing” the floor. Doing this can encourage the splitting.
True Pound Cake
Including a liquid flavoring agent is solely non-obligatory. I’ve vanilla listed right here, however almond, rum or orange extracts are additionally beautiful additions. If utilizing business cake flour, don’t take away any flour and disrespect the cornstarch and salt within the elements record.
Makes 2 (9-inch) loaves
1 pound butter (2 cups), room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar (roughly 4½ cups; substitute with 2¼ cups ultra-fine baker’s sugar or 2 cups granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, non-obligatory
1 pound giant eggs (about 8), room temperature
1 pound all-purpose flour, minus 8 tablespoons
7 to eight tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon advantageous sea salt
Utilizing a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter on excessive for 3 minutes. Scrape down sides; beat on excessive for five minutes; the butter needs to be lighter in coloration and practically tripled in quantity.
Over a sheet of waxed or parchment paper, sift powdered sugar. Add half of it to the blending bowl and beat on low for 30 seconds, then beat on excessive for 3 minutes. Scrape down sides, then repeat with the remaining sugar. Add vanilla and beat on excessive for 30 seconds.
Beat in eggs, separately on medium-high, simply till totally included, stopping to scrape down sides as wanted.
Measure 1 pound of flour. Take away 8 tablespoons. Add 7 to eight tablespoons of cornstarch to deliver flour again as much as 1 pound. Sift flour onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Repeat sifting two extra instances, including the salt through the third sift.
Add ⅓ of flour to butter, and beat on medium till simply included. Scrape down sides. Repeat with the subsequent ⅓ of flour. Scrape down sides and repeat with remaining flour.
Spray two 9-inch loaf pans with baking spray (Baker’s Pleasure or Bak-Klene ZT). Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans, weighing them on a kitchen scale to make sure that the batter is split evenly.
Place pans in a chilly oven. Flip the oven on to 275 levels. Bake for 1½ to 2 hours or till a toothpick inserted comes out nearly clear. Cool within the pan for 20 minutes. Fastidiously flip the muffins out onto a cooling rack till fully cooled.
Recipe is copyrighted by Anita L. Arambula and is reprinted by permission from “Confessions of a Foodie.”
Arambula is the meals part artwork director and designer. She blogs at confessionsofafoodie.me, the place the unique model of this text was printed. Comply with her on Instagram: @afotogirl. She might be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.