America's Test Kitchen contributor Jack Bishop shares baking secrets in The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. He recommends adding vodka for making a great pie crust that won't roll out. Jack is Editorial Director of Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines. He's also a cast member of public television's The America's Test Kitchen. The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book will be published in late August or September 2008.
Easy Pound Cake
Makes one 8-inch loaf
This recipe will also make four miniature pound cakes; use four 2-cup mini loaf pans and reduce the baking time to 40 minutes.
1½ cups (6 ozs) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1¼ cups (8 3/4 ozs) sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1½ tsp vanilla extract
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and hot
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour an 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
2. Process the sugar, eggs, and vanilla together in a food processor (or blender) until combined, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, pour the hot melted butter through the feed tube in a steady stream until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
3. Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and whisk to combine until just a few streaks of flour remain. Repeat twice more with the remaining flour mixture, then continue to whisk the batter gently until most lumps are gone (do not overmix).
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Wipe any drops of the batter off the sides of the pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
5. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then flip it out onto a wire rack. Turn the cake right side up and let it cool completely, about 2 hours, before serving.
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