Kendra’s Perfect Pound Cake & Keys to Pound Cake Excellence

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Nothing conjures up nostalgic memoirs of days spent playing in the yard and eating to your heart’s content like the smell of sweet pound cake baking in grandma’s oven! To many this sweet cake was often served as the perfect snack with the quintessential tall glass of milk to wash each dense morsel down your throat. Am I right folks, granny’s recipes were cherished as the epitome of culinary greatness, never to be fiddled with or changed in any form. In fact, each family member made an oath with their mouths to never even accept a bite of another family’s potluck creation because nobody else’s could dare measure up to granny’s soul-warming, tender loving cooking!

Yet and still folks, I have a secret confession to make, I have…never….seen what the hype is about this queen of butter cakes! (Food Lovers Everywhere Gasp In Disbelief!)  Time’s are changing folks and as much as i loved my dear granny’s delectable creations i never understood why no one ever wondered as i did about this odd case of the butter cake. Pound cake has always been elusive to me..it’s the one cake like the elephant in the room that everyone just ignores although it preposterous to the eyes! Literally speaking pound cake is just that…come on, how can we subscribe to the notion that it is “okay” to eat a cake that has ONE POUND EACH….of BUTTER, SUGAR, flour and eggs! Holy Cow is that just one more bite away from a butter rich, sweet as can be heart attack just waiting to happen!!! I never really saw what the big deal was over this glorious, delectably Plain Jane. I personally always thought that it didn’t boast much flavor for all the butter and sugar it’s worth and it just tasted like a dry, vanilla heavy brick to my palette…just saying. Maybe i just wasn’t eating the right kind until i sought out to create my own heavenly pound cake and now i can truly say i have fallen in love and been in a happily committed relationship with this delicacy for some time now…lol. Yet mine is everything you loved about pound cake, yet so much more. I call mine the future of pound cake, made completely unconventionally yet ironically tasting just like a traditional pound cake and without the heavy toll on our caloric piggy bank! Mine is lightened up yet taste as rich as ever, no one would ever know the difference i tell ya except for the layers of flavor and moist texture of every luscious morsel. The only thing you’ll regret is having made it in a loaf because it’s easy to eat an entire loaf in one day which would in a twist of irony counteract the fact that it is lower in calories and instead would make you gain a pound after all! So, so sorry my friends, self-control is so hard to balance when enjoying this cake so feel free to double the recipe to make a bundt cake cause you’re gonna need it to feed the crowd that follows the sweet trails to your oven!

 

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HIGHLIGHTS OF MY PERFECT POUND CAKE

  • We start with sifted cake flour and baking powder for the perfect crumb  (traditionally leaveners are not used in pound cakes but it really creates the perfect texture!)
  • Instead of using all butter in my cake I follow the traditions of Italian pound cake by adding a 1:1 ratio of vanilla yogurt and sugar for flavor and sweetness, cream cheese for richness and 1/2 butter and 1/2 oil for fantastic moisture.
  • I whip the batter to create air pockets for a beautiful rise and use four eggs for the grand structure and density pound cake is known for.
  • I take the flavor way up by using three pure extracts: vanilla, lemon and almond
  • Makes a dainty loaf but can easily be doubled for bundt pans.
  • Garnish with powdered sugar, my homestyle vanilla-sugar butter or my amazing lemon glaze but taste fantastic straight from pan to table!
  • Serve alongside berries or peaches and whipped cream or a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream or make a grilled sundae by grilling the cake in butter than grilling some sweet peaches or pineapples and serving a la mode!
  • Switch up the flavors and make it depending on your mood or occasion by adding spices or making it into a layer cake like strawberry shortcake the possibilities are endless! 

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SERVINGS: 8 SLICES, LOAF

PREP TIME: 10 MINS

COOK TIME: 45-60 MINS

TOTAL TIME: 1 HR PLUS COOLING TIME

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour or all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons pure unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

GARNISHES

  • Dust with powdered sugar
  • Lemon Glaze ( 1/2 cup vanilla frosting +  1/4 cup lemon juice + 1 tbsp lemon zest & mix well. Drizzle on cake)
  • Vanilla Sugar Butter ( 4 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp vanilla extract + 1 tbsp sugar. Mix well and smear on the top of cake while it is hot out of the oven and cooling in the pan.)

DIRECTIONS

  • Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and flour a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, add your sifted flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl add your sugar, butter, cream cheese, yogurt, oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon extract and using an electric mixer mix on medium speed. Whip on medium speed for about 2 to 3 minutes until you have a uniform, creamy and fluffy mixture.
  • Now add the eggs, one at a time and beat with your electric mixer on medium speed just until each egg is incorporated into the batter. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  • Finally add your flour mixture to your batter in 3 parts by adding a quarter at a time and using your electric mixer on medium incorporate your flour into the batter just until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to gently mix in the flour that accumulates on the sides. Repeat until all your flour is combined into your batter. BE GENTLE & DO NOT OVERMIX!
  • Transfer your batter to your loaf pan with a rubber spatula and smooth the top. Gently tap the bottom of your loaf pan on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for between 45-60 minutes or until golden brown and set using a toothpick to test the center. (Top with vanilla sugar butter if desired at this stage.)
  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 15 to 20 minutes than transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for about 30 to 40 minutes before slicing. Garnish with your favorite toppings.
  • Eat at room temperature for about two days, refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze. It freezes beautifully.

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