My Favorite Pound Cake
Why is this my favorite pound cake, you might ask? Because it works. Every single time. This is important to me, because up to a few years ago, my pound cakes were hit or miss. Sometimes they turned out well, but there were other times when they had a "sad streak" that ran through the middle of the cake. This is what my grandma called it, when a section of the cake didn't rise properly and made a dense streak through the cake. In truth, the cake still tastes delicious, it's just not as pretty.
Well, I like to make pretty cakes, and having noticed that a high school friend often displayed her pound cakes on Facebook, I decided Etta should be my pound cake mentor. She sent me straight to a Southern Living recipe and I've never looked back. I no longer hesitate to make pound cake for special occasions, because I trust this recipe!
I use this Anniversary bundt pan by Nordic Ware for my pound cakes. It's a heavy duty quality pan that one of my children will inherit one day. I love it. Before doing anything else, liberally grease the pan with shortening. When you think you've got it covered, go over the whole thing again.
Next, dust the the pan with flour, making sure that every spot is covered. Set aside the pan, while you mix the cake. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Put 1 1/2 cups softened butter and 1 package of softened cream cheese in stand mixer. I got lucky and found this Plugra european butter at Aldi. It is wonderful for baking. Any unsalted butter will do though. Mix cream cheese and butter until creamy.
Gradually add 3 cups sugar and beat for 5 minutes. Set your timer.
Then add 6 large eggs (these should be at room temperature) one at a time, allowing each to be fully incorporated before adding more. Stir in 1 T. vanilla extract.
Sift 3 cups all purpose flour and 1/8 t. salt and add gradually to the mixer, beating until well blended. I use a whisk to break up any lumps in the flour, rather than an actual sifter.
Spoon batter in prepared pan and hit it a couple of times on the counter to release any air bubbles.
Pour 2 cups water in an ovenproof dish to place in oven near the cake. This was something I had never done before when making pound cakes, but the recipe told me to do it, and I follow rules!
Bake at 300 degrees for an hour and forty-five minutes. That's a long time! Don't get anxious and peek half way through the baking time. This time has worked perfectly for me. Just set your timer and go on about your business.
Place pan on wire rack and cool for 15 minutes before turning out of the pan. This is the moment of truth. Will my cake stick? If you've greased and floured properly, you should have no problem. See that good crunchy stuff around he bottom of the cake. It's the baker's reward. Go ahead and have a taste. Now, break out those fresh berries and whip some cream and you have a dessert!
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 (8oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 T. vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1/8 t. salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Use an electric mixer to mix butter and cream cheese until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat for 5 minutes, then add eggs one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding more.
Stir in vanilla.
Sift flour and salt and add gradually to the mixer, beating until well blended.
Spoon batter into a well greased and floured bundt or tube cake pan.
Place 2 cups water in an ovenproof dish on the rack in the oven next to the cake.
Bake cake at 300 degrees for an hour and forty-five minutes,or until a toothpick can be removed cleanly.
Place pan on a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then remove the cake from pan and completely cooling on the rack.