The Great American Pound Cake

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Shirley Corriher is the author of Bakewise.  One of her favorite recipes from the book is her Great American Poundcake.

The Great American Pound Cake

An excess of sugar and butter make this cake wonderfully moist. The cake should be baked in a 12-cup Bundt or a 10-inch tube pan, which does not require as much protein structure to look perfect as a loaf cake does. The flavoring is blended with the fat, because the fat is a great flavor carrier and distributes the flavorings well. There will be holes in the cake if the leavening is not evenly distributed, so, it is important to beat the flour and leavening and any dry together well with a fork or hand beater.

Nonstick cooking spray with flour
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 oz pieces
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pure almond extract
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
5 large eggs
3 cups spooned and leveled, bleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup buttermilk or whole milk

Note: The Great American Pound Cake original recipe calls for 1 cup of buttermilk or milk. You can substitute sour cream or heavy cream, for the milk but if you do be sure to add 1/3 cup of extra milk or buttermilk due to the higher fat content of the cream or sour cream.

1. Arrange a shelf in the lower third of the oven, place a baking stone on it, and preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Spray a 10-inch tube pan or a 12-cup Bundt pan generously with nonstick cooking spray with flour.

3. With a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter to soften. Add shortening and beat until the mixture is light and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat (cream) until very light, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl at least once. While creaming, feel the bowl. If it does not feel cool, place in the freezer for 5 minutes and then continue creaming.

4. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon extracts. On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time.

5. In a medium bowl, with a fork or hand mixer, beat together flour, baking powder, and salt at least 30 seconds.

6. On the lowest speed, blend 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Alternate adding cream, and then flour, until all of both are incorporated. Scrape down the sides and across the bottom of the bowl at least once with a large flexible spatula. Then, blend in the buttermilk just to incorporate.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Drop the pan onto the counter from a height of about 4 inches to knock out bubbles. Smooth the batter with a spatula.

8. Place the cake on the baking stone and bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean but moist, about 1 hour. Ideally, the cake should not pull away from the sides until it has just come out of the oven. Place the cake in the pan on a rack to cool.

9. With a meat fork, punch holes in the cake and begin to slowly pour the soaking solution (recipe below) on the cake. Allow to soak in then pour again. Repeat until all of the soaking solution is absorbed. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes, and then shake the pan to loosen the cake all around. Allow the cake to stand in the pan for another hour to cool. Make sure that the cake is loosened from the pan by jarring it against the counter. Invert the cake onto the serving platter to finish cooling.

10. While the cake is still warm, brush and rebrush several times with the Shiny Glaze (recipe below) if you are using it. This cake improves upon standing for 2 or 3 days, well wrapped and refrigerated. If using icing, just before serving, drizzle icing on, not solidly, but with drools that run down the side.



Evan Kleiman