One of my favorite desserts for any time of year is sliced pound cake, topped with fresh berries in a simple sugar sauce. Top with a bit of whipped cream, and wow! Simple and delicious.
Pound cakes have been made centuries. The pound cake originated several centuries ago in England; the name comes from the fact that the original pound cakes contained one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. By the mid 1800s pound cake recipes began to deviate slightly from the original formula to make a lighter cake. Some recipes even contained a liquid, such as alcohol or rose water. Today, pound cakes use different proportions of the same ingredients as the original formula to produce a lighter cake. But today’s cakes are just as delicious.
The Classic Pound Cake Recipe
Makes 2 cakes.
- 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 T. coarse salt
- 4 sticks softened unsalted butter
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 9 large room temperature eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 5 x 9-inch loaf pans. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, for 8 minutes. (Creaming the butter and sugar thoroughly is crucial) Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla. Lightly beat eggs, and add in 4 additions, mixing thoroughly after each. Reduce speed to low, and add flour in 4 additions, mixing just until incorporated.
Divide batter between pans. Bake until pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Cool on a wire rack in pans for 30 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely.
Top with berries in the sauce. Combine 2 cups berries, 2 T. sugar, and 1 tsp. lemon juice in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Any of these variations are delicious!
Brown Sugar Walnut: Substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar. Fold 2 cups of toasted chopped walnuts into batter. Top with Peach Maple Sauce: 1 cup maple syrup, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 stick butter, and 1 tsp salt in saucepan. Cook over med-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cream and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add 2 sliced peaches. Let thicken 5 minutes.
Chocolate: Substitute 1 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder in place of 1 cup flour.
Chocolate Marble: Prepare 4 pans instead of 2. Make 1 batch of classic pound cake and 1 batch of chocolate. Scoop batter into pans, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating plain and chocolate. Swirl with knife and bake.
Poppy Seed: Fold 1 T. poppy seeds into batter.
Blueberry Sour Cream: Use 1/2 cup sour cream instead of 1 stick of butter. Toss 2 cups of blueberries in 2 T. flour, fold into batter. Before baking, sprinkle 2 T. sugar over the cake.
Chocolate Chip: Fold 2 cups chocolate chips into batter.
Cherry Preserves: Fold 1 cup cherry preserves into batter.
Vanilla Bean: Use seeds from 1 vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract.
Cinnamon Raisin: Toss 2 cups raisins in 2 T. flour. Fold into batter. Divide batter in half. Fold 2 T. cinnamon into 1 half. Scoop batter into pans, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating plain and chocolate. Swirl with knife and bake.
Lemon: Add the juice of 4 lemons to the batter.