To learn more about pound cakes, including tips for success and equipment recommendations, read on.
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When I first started writing this blog–really from the first time I ever (rather unsuccessfully) baked a cake, one of my goals has been to write the perfect pound cake recipe. I think I have finally been able to do that, and here you will find all the pound cake recipes on Pastry Chef Online.
This page, aside from being the Repository of Pound Cake, will provide some pound cake history, equipment recommendations, and tips and tricks for making a pound cake that references the original while being moist and sweet for our more modern tastes. Shall we get started?
WHAT IS POUND CAKE?
The original pound cake formula called for one pound each of four main ingredients:
Or maybe a better definition would be a cake with equal parts flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.
For example, you could make a large pound cake with 16 oz/454 grams of each of those four main ingredients, or you could make a smaller pound cake with 8 oz/227 grams of each of the four ingredients.
WHAT IS ANOTHER NAME FOR POUND CAKE?
The French version of pound cake is called quatre quarts, or four parts. It is virtually identical to an “old school” American pound cake and is possibly the precursor to what we know as pound cake.
It could also be that quatre quarts is just another name for a cake made with equal parts of the four main ingredients.
HOW ARE MODERN POUND CAKES DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL POUND CAKE RATIO?
Pound cake recipes have evolved over the years to appeal to modern tastes.
Compared to traditional pound cakes (equal parts butter, sugar, eggs, and flour), today’s pound cakes are:
- more tender
- more moist
For example, compared to a traditional pound cake with weights of 1 pound/16 ounces for each ingredient, here is the way my perfect pound cake recipe stacks up:
- sugar: 20 oz
- butter: 12 oz
- eggs: 10 oz
- flour 13 oz
You can see that, while 3 of the ingredients are near equal in amount, there is much more sugar in a modern pound cake compared to the other 3 main ingredients.
Sugar brings tenderness, moistness, and sweetness to your pound cake. Sweet!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the best way to make a pound cake?
You will get the best texture and crumb if you follow the creaming method for making cakes. In a nutshell, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time, and then alternate adding all the dry ingredients with all the wet ingredients: dry-wet-dry-wet-dry.
What is the best pan to use?
It really depends on the size of the cake you want to make. My standard pound cake recipe, which contains 5 eggs, bakes up perfectly in a 12 cup Bundt pan.
Some recipes are scaled to be baked in loaf pans, while others work best in a tube pan. If you do not have the correct size pan for the amount of batter you are making, you can use up excess by baking a smaller cake or a few cupcakes to bake alongside the “main cake.”
How do I keep it moist?
I ensure any cake I make, pound cake included, is as moist as it can be by wrapping it in plastic wrap while still hot. The plastic wrap traps moisture that would otherwise evaporate out of the cake during cooling and keeps it where it belongs. Once wrapped, you can allow the cake to cool on the counter, in the fridge, or even in the freezer.
How long does it last?
Pound cake has great keeping qualities, which is one of the reasons I don’t mind making a large one. I keep my pound cake covered and on the counter for up to a week. Generally speaking, a pound cake will become more moist the longer it sits. I especially find this to be the case with chocolate pound cake which gets fudgier as it sits out. For storage longer than a week, wrap well and freeze as described above.
Can you freeze it?
Pound cake freezes exceptionally well. Wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap and then in a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 4 months.
When ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer and allow to thaw completely on the counter, still wrapped, until it is room temperature. Slice and serve at room temperature, slightly warmed in the oven, or even toasted.
Here are some likely pans for baking pound cake. As I've said, my favorite is a standard 12 cup Bundt pan, but it's also fun to bake in the shaped Bundt pans.
Most of fun shapes hold 10 cups, so you may need to make an additional small cake or a few cupcakes if you want to bake any of my variations in a shaped mold.
Even though I'm a huge fan of Bundt-type pans for pound cake, the most traditional pan is probably a loaf pan, since most folks would have already had one or two for baking bread.
I recently read a friend's post about a "funeral cake" baked in a super long loaf pan measuring 16" x 4", and I think that would also be an excellent choice for baking pound cake.
Tips and Tricks for Success
- Just like all cakes made with the creaming method, all your ingredients--butter, eggs, and dairy (anything refrigerated)--should be at cool room temperature before beginning.
- If using a Bundt-type pan, especially one with an intricate design, grease and flour your pan really well, brushing thoroughly with shortening and then shaking a good amount of all purpose flour all around the inside. Tap out the excess.
- When making a chocolate cake, you can grease your pan with shortening and then with sifted cocoa powder.
- Allow your cakes to cool in the pans for a good 20-30 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
- For extra moist pound cake, wrap your cakes in plastic wrap as soon as they come out of the pan. This will keep any additional moisture from evaporating. The trade-off is that you won't get the crispy bits on the outsides of your cake, so decide which is more important to you: crispy bits or moist cake and act accordingly.
Here are all the pound cake recipes on the site. Don't see one you want?
Shoot me an email and I'll see if I can help you out!