Friday, March 13, 2009
I've loved pound cake ever since my little Vietnamese grandmother kept a foil tin of the Sara Lee stuff in her fridge. It was always kind of odd seeing it there next to the beef stew and fish sauce, just behind the pickled carrots. I'd open the fridge door and hunt for it. When I finally found it I'd peel back the little metal tabs around the edges and pick up the knife left inside, cut myself a thick slice, and eat it cold.
I'd like to think my tastes have evolved since then, but I doubt it.
I made this as an afterthought the same day I made the sugar cookies and forgot to take an after photo! I left the batter covered in the fridge and baked it the next day. It was compact and sweet with a crackly sugar crust from that vanilla glaze.
This is from King Arthur Flour, where I got the recipe.
Golden Vanilla Pound Cake
from King Arthur Flour
7 ounces(3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature*
7 3/4 ounces (1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
7/8 ounce (2 tablespoons) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon water
*Note: Bring eggs to room temp by leaving them, unshelled, in a bowl of lukewarm water for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" x 2 3/4" loaf pan, or a 12" x 4" x 4" tea loaf pan. To avoid overflow, be SURE to use the correct size pan! This will also work in a 9" bundt pan, which requires a shorter baking time so start checking after 55 minutes.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, salt, sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; the mixture may look slightly curdled/grainy. After you've added the final egg, beat at high speed for 3 minutes. The batter will still look a little curdled, but will have gained a bit of volume.
Sprinkle in the flour gradually, with the mixer going at low speed. Mix just until combined. The batter will be smooth and thick (not pourable). Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water. Stir till the mixture is syrupy. At first it'll seem very stiff, but will become "drizzlable" as you stir.
Drizzle the topping over the batter.
Set the cake on a baking sheet, for easiest handling and as a precaution against potential overflow (which shouldn't happen if you use the correct size pan). Bake it for 60 to 70 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The center should register at least 200°F on an instant-read thermometer. If you prefer a lighter crust, tent the cake with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes or so of baking.
Remove the cake from the oven, and after 15 minutes loosen the edges, and turn it out of the pan to cool on a rack.
Serve with strawberries and honey or store in refrigerator and eat by the slice, crouched in the kitchen.