Friday, August 13, 2010

Pound cake (p. 716)

My cousin Erica and her boyfriend Pat were coming to visit Josh and I before heading to a Philip K Dick festival. They were going to stay at our house Thursday night, all Friday, and leave early Saturday. I have a bad habit of not having any easy snaking food in the house and forgetting to eat so I decided to make a Pound cake (p. 716) thinking that we could have a slice if anyone got hungry.

I'm not a pound cake aficionado. Before Josh, I probably only ate pound cake once or twice. Josh loves strawberry shortcake with pound cake. Usually it's pretty mediocre pound cake (I like the more spongy base) and too dense and heavy (or maybe that's the way it's supposed to be, I really don't know). Historically, pound cake was made with a pound of flour, eggs, sugar, and butter.

The TJOC pound cake uses four sticks of butter, nine eggs, two cups of sugar, and four cups of flour--I don't think it's quite a pound each but it might be close!

I started by beating the butter for a minute:

I added the sugar and beat the batter for another seven minutes. At this point I really wished I had read the recipe through (well) before starting cooking--I would have made this in my stand mixer so I didn't have to stand over the bowl the whole time.

The egg yolks were added (one at a time, more or less) and then vanilla and a bit of brandy (I can't stand rose water so I didn't add it--in my opinion, roses [and perfume] aren't meant as food). Finally, I added the flour:

I whipped the egg whites with a bit of cream of tartar and salt:

It took FOREVER to incorporate the egg whites into the rest of the batter by folding. Honestly, I thought it was never going to happen. I folded, folded, folded, folded, and folded some more. FINALLY there was no white showing.

I poured the batter into a tube pan and popped it in the oven.

My cake was truly a thing of beauty:

Gorgeous! Perfect! I was so proud of this cake. It was absolutely delicious. I used most of it for strawberry shortcake, which was amazing. The pound cake wasn't as dense as some pound cakes are--it had a nice firm grain but was still tender (if that makes any sense) with a nice, subtle vanilla flavor. I didn't make any adjustments for altitude and it didn't seem to be a problem at all. I'm really glad this turned out so well since there are at least four other variations of it still to go.

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1 comment:

  1. I recently experimented with other pound cake recipes and they were all humdrum. Only the JOC recipe has ever satisfied me. This week I am making a 4 tier wedding cake using it -- with a lemon curd filling.
    Some notes: 1) The butter must be 70 degrees and creamed for a long time before adding the sugar, then cream both until light and fluffy. 2) Beating the egg yolks and whites separately is optional and makes a lighter cake; but, I prefer it traditionally dense so I add the eggs whole. (Plus I don't need to then fold and fold and fold the egg whites into the batter.) A key distinction with the JOC recipe is the absence of baking powder or baking soda. The creamed butter and eggs -- plus 1/2 tsp cream of tartar that stabilizes them -- make the structure. 3) I flavor only with vanilla.4) Your recipe omitted the 1/2 tsp Mace -- which can be substituted with nutmeg. The flavor enhancement is subtle but miraculous. Do it that way once and you will never forget to add it again.

    Ed Mannix (who learned that when JOC says 70 degrees they meant it and it makes all the difference.)


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