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Pound for pound, a dessert heavyweight

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Pound cake, the mother of all cakes, is a great versatile standby. Also known as a Madeira cake, because it goes great with a glass of Madeira wine, pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Hence, any cake made with a 1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar is called a pound cake.

The traditional connotation of using a pound of each ingredient is often forgotten because it is no longer as common to weigh ingredients in pounds while baking. Today it is more popular to measure ingredients out in grams or in cups. Pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a Bundt pan and can be served either dusted with icing sugar, lightly glazed, or sometimes with a coat of your favourite icing.

There are so many variations on the traditional pound cake, you imagination is the limit. Add vanilla or almond extract or dried fruit (such as currants or dried cranberries).

My version below is a sour cream pound cake, which substitutes sour cream for some of the butter and produces a more moist cake with a pleasantly tangy flavour.

Whether Marie Antoinette uttered "let them eat cake" remains debatable. But I'm sure she would have approved of my suggestions for making pound cake more delicious.

 

  •  Chocolate Pound Cake with Peanut Butter and jam swirl topping -- substitute about a 1/3 of the flour with cocoa powder
  •  Lemon Pound Cake with Tequila Lime Icing -- make a cream-cheese icing and add a dash of tequila and some grated lime rind
  •  Rosemary Pound Cake served with Honey and Creme Fraiche -- add 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) of finely chopped rosemary to the batter
  •  Cinnamon Toast Pound Cake -- this is simply a plain pound cake, sliced, lightly toasted, buttered and served with a sprinkling of cinnamon

 

Pound cake

Pound Cake is also great served as an easy dessert, sliced with fresh fruit and cream

 

INGREDIENTS

 

225 g (1/2 lb) or 250 ml [1 cup] butter

750 ml [3 cups] sugar

250 ml [1 cup] sour cream

750 ml [3 cups] all purpose flour

2.5 ml [1/2 tsp] baking powder

6 eggs

5 ml [1 tsp] vanilla

Pinch salt


METHOD

 

1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

3. Add sour cream.

4. Add flour to butter mixture, alternately with eggs. Incorporating well after each addition.

5. Add vanilla.

6. Pour into bundt or loaf pans.

7. Bake at 165 C (325 F) for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 29, 2014 D14

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