Classic Pound Cake
I am slow to make absolute statements in baking because there's no way to honestly say that something is "the best" without having had a real competition. However, I violate this rule and declare "this is The Best" in precisely three baked good categories:
- My Grandma Bessie's Carrot Cake
- The chocolate chip cookie recipe from the Oregon State Fair (1990?) and
- My Mother-in-Law's Pound Cake
Soon after we married, my husband encouraged me to get this recipe from his mom, and, I'm happy to say, she shared it eagerly. I have found the recipe to be a consistent hit with guests (don't even think about making this and just have it sitting around the house unless you're TRYING to gain weight!) and, just as important, pretty easy to make.
If you're ready to jump in (why wouldn't you be?), here's what you need:
- 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 8 oz sour cream ("lite" is ok, "fat free" is NOT)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp almond extract
- A tube pan with straight sides
You'll notice that this "pound cake" earns its name because there truly is a pound of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour!
Don't the ingredients ALREADY look yummy? The first thing you need to do is grease and "line" your pan. I like to use a spray to grease, though Crisco is a more traditional approach. BE SURE TO REMEMBER TO GREASE THE CENTER AROUND THE HOLE IN THE PAN!!!
If you're like me, you may not know what it means to "line" a pan. Simply put, it means to cover all of the parts that you greased with flour. This is a critical step in the process because pound cakes get flaky and if you pan isn't properly prepared, your final product will suffer. The pan will look like this when you are finished.Next, it's onto batter prep. Cream together the butter and sugar in your mixer until well blended. Now, you will add the eggs ONE AT A TIME. To do this, I always break my eggs into a little bowl just to make sure that I don't have any mistakes. If you ever break an egg directly into the mixing bowl and lose the piece of the shell, you're pretty much doomed. Trust me, it's worth the effort. Make sure that each egg is incorporated before pouring in the next egg. When your eggs are well blended, sift together the flour and baking powder. I do this on a piece of wax paper to make it easy to pour. Add the flour alternately with sour cream. Make sure that you end with flour. The "alternating" drill seems silly until you skip it and find that you have lines of unincorporated sour cream in your cake!Finally, add the vanilla and almond extract. At this point, it's important to taste a little batter from the side, just to make sure that you didn't forget anything. (I left out the vanilla once and would have realized it had I licked my fingers!!) Next pour the batter into the prepared pan and make sure that you even it out so that it's level around the circle.Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven in the center rack for 90 minutes.That wasn't a typo. It takes 90 minutes for this bad boy to cook. Apparently you can't rush The Best Pound Cake! Use your time to cut up some berries or make a cup of tea. If you're like me, you'll turn the oven light on and walk by every few minutes to see the crust forming. YUM!Enjoy!