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I’ve been thinking about pound cake a lot.  I don’t really know why I started to think about pound cake.  But as I was considering pound cake, it made me think of some of my first experiences with pound cake, namely Entemann’s pound cake (which is apparently called an “all butter loaf cake”), which is still the pound cake I think of in taste and texture when I think of pound cake.  None of that Sara Lee stuff.

I am going to continue to say pound cake.

Anyway, I remember asking my mother why pound cake was called “pound cake.”  I was confused because I thought maybe the cake itself was supposed to weigh a pound and it didn’t.  She told me it was because there was supposed to be a pound each of all the ingredients that went into a cake.  Oh.  Makes sense.

But then I looked at the ingredient list for commercially prepared pound cake.

Aside: You know what?  I think Entemann’s pound cake used to be called pound cake and they changed it to all butter loaf cake later because it isn’t really pound cake anymore as they don’t follow the pound of everything recipe. /end

Commercially prepared pound cake has an awful lot of stuff in it.  Just like most commercially prepared foods.  It’s one of the joys of living in an industrialized nation and industrializing our food manufacture.  But as a child, I did not know that.  I just thought that it didn’t make any sense to have a pound each of everything in the ingredient list.  No way is there a pound of salt with the pound of sugar.  The cake isn’t salty.  Something is wrong.

Well yes.  Something is wrong.  Because commercially prepared pound cake, and most cakes we consider pound cakes today, are derivatives of the original recipe.  The original recipes (as I could find them) state that there should be a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour all mixed and then baked in a slow oven (300-325deg F) for about an hour.  But that results in a heavyish cake.  There’s no leavening.  Or other flavoring besides your butter and sugar.  So people started adding stuff.  A lot of old recipes I saw added brandy or whiskey.  I see that various citrus rinds are used a lot for flavoring too.  And of course lots of bakers added baking powder so that the cake wouldn’t be so dense.

But I want to know what a real pound cake tastes like.  The original pound cake.  And since you cannot buy these things, I made one myself.  Or rather, I made six.  Mini ones.  And I had halved the recipe because I didn’t want that much cake.  So it was more of a half-pound cake.


I creamed the butter and sugar.  Then I added the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.  Incidentally, a half-pound of eggs is about four extra large eggs.  And then I added the flour in two installments, mixing until just incorporated.  The resulting batter is quite thick.  I portioned the batter out into my mini loaf tins and threw them into the oven preheated to 325deg F for 50min.

WP_20141118_16_07_45_ProThe batter was REALLY thick.  You can see how difficult it was for the bubbles to escape.  I probably should have shaken the pan a bit before baking to release the air bubbles.


The tiniest pound cake!

In terms of taste and texture, it’s kind of like a really soft shortbread cookie, which makes sense since the ingredients are pretty much the ingredients for a shortbread cookie.  The cake doesn’t have much rise to it, which also makes sense since there’s no leavening.  I kind of like the mini loaf because it means the outside edges are nice and crisp (from all that butter) but the inside is nice and soft.

I think I prefer Entemann’s still.  Next time, I’ll probably add some baking powder, vanilla extract, maybe some brandy because that sounds kind of good, lemon rind?, and a dash of salt.


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