Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sunday -- Perfect Pound Cake

I'm back! Thank you for all the well wishes and kind thoughts. I am feeling better though I do have some upcoming procedures to deal with and an eventual surgery. But for now I am so happy to be back to cooking, baking and blogging.

This week's Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe was my choice. I picked Perfect Pound Cake for several reasons: it's easy to make, Melissa seems quite proud of her recipe, and growing up my dad and I used to be fiends for Sara Lee all-butter pound cake, and so now when I do have a piece of pound cake, I always think of my dad.

The cake did turn out to be quite delicious--moist and rich, but not too sweet. I didn't have the proper size loaf pan to bake it in so I used a small springform pan and that worked out fine, though I think it would have been even moister with a loaf pan. I served it plain, toasted with a little butter, and warm from the pan with some honey.

I've included Melissa's comments along with the recipe.

Perfect Pound Cake

It was a Thursday at Sweet Melissa's, the day we'd make the loaf cakes for our customers to have for the weekend. Jessie, my pastry sous-chef, had asked me the day before, "What kind of loaf cakes do you want to make tomorrow?" I didn't know. I'd grown tired of the ones I'd made over the previous month, too much going on--berries, zest, juice, poppy seeds, glaze, nuts. I wasn't in the mood for any of it.

I went to my books for inspiration. Chocolate chips, streusel, pecans. I was being assaulted by add-ins. I closed my eyes and thought, "What do I want to eat?" I realized I wanted gentle texture, supported by butter, vanilla, and a little salt. What I wanted was the perfect pound cake.

Now this was an important mission. How could I have come as far as I had without the perfect pound cake? I was dumbfounded by my own shortcoming. Sure, I had made lots of pound cakes, as the base for this and that, or as the body of a raspberry lemon loaf, but had I made the perfect pound cake? I had not. It was time I did.

I played around with some recipes: Some used all butter, some added heavy cream. I fooled with the temperature of the butter, trying both softened and melted, and ultimately found myself in front of the most gorgeous batter I had ever seen. "I could swim in this batter," I told Jessie. "It is nice...," she replied without commitment. She had seen me testing recipes before, seen me excited about a batter, and even dealt with me sticking a batter-covered finger into her mouth from time to time.

"Jessie, you know the crack that pound cake has, where the center can get a little moist and yummy? That's my favorite part."

She said with noticeable doubt in her voice, as if preparing me for the possible impossibility, "You may be asking too much."

"Well, let's see." And I put the loaf into the oven.


3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and then cooled to warm

Before you start:

Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan.

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt until smooth.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour and baking powder until evenly combined.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the vanilla and heavy cream to combine.

4. Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and whisk together until mostly incorporated. Pour half of the cream mixture over and whisk until mostly combined. Repeat with one-third more of the flour, followed by the remaining half of the cream mixture and the remaining flour. Do not over mix!

5. Pour the melted butter over the batter and fold in gently until incorporated. The batter will be silky and gorgeous.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before turning out the cake onto the rack.

The pound cake keeps well wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 2 days. For longer storage, refrigerate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 5 days, or freeze wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 1 month. Do not unwrap before defrosting.

Ultimate Indulgence: Try this the next time you have a cookout. Lightly grill several slices of pound cake and some fresh pineapple sliced about 3/4 inch thick. Top the pound cake with some vanilla ice cream, the grilled pineapple, and a healthy drizzle of Butterscotch sauce. I'm telling you, we could take over the world with this stuff.

Please see the delicious pound cakes made by the other Sweet Melissa bakers!


  1. Michele-I'm glad to see that you're back...I am SO sorry to hear of your gb troubles. They are SO very painful.

    This pound cake looks wonderful and I'm glad that it brought back such wonderful memories of you and your Dad!

  2. Glad to hear you are feeling better! Thanks for picking such a wonderful recipe this week- I love pound cake!

  3. Welcome back. Im glad your piound cake turned out good! Thanks for including the comment from the cookbook..I enjoy reading those! It was a fun recipe to make even if mine came out dry;)

  4. mmmm - pound cake drizzled with honey - sounds perfect!

    Glad you're feeling better, too!

  5. Welcome back, we all missed you. :)

  6. Welcome back,
    You were so dearly missed!

  7. Welcome back! Thanks for such a nice pick for SMS, I loved the story about you and your dad being pound cake fiends :) I thought I was the only one who liked buttered pound cake, ha!

  8. I love the story about you and your dad and Sara Lee. It's been years since I've had a Sara Lee poundcake, but now I sort of want to go buy one. Thanks for picking this fun recipe!

  9. Thanks for hosting! I love the memories that come with food :)

    Thanks for choosing the pound cake - it was super delish!

  11. this looks good! Have to try it :) I like how you served it :)

  12. Thanks for hosting this week!!! :)

  13. Welcome back Michele! Glad you're feeling better :) Thanks for hosting this week. The pound cake was easy to make and really delicious! Your cake looks wonderful drizzled with the honey - yum!

  14. Michele: I am new to SMS! Thanks for choosing this week's recipe. I had fun with the pound cake.

    Hope your health continues to improve.

  15. oh my! I've been MIA in the blogging world and did not see you weren't well until now Michele.... I am glad that you are doing better and hope you are back to good health soon.

    I barely got this one done on time but I'm glad I did! It seems like a pretty fool proof recipe b/c I totally messed it up! :P

  16. Welcome back, Michele! I'm glad you're feeling better. Your pound cake looks great, especially with that big drizzle of honey, I'm glad it brought back fond memories for you.

  17. It is good to see you back on your blog. Yummy looking pound cake.

  18. Thanks for hosting this week, I'm so glad you're back!

  19. So glad you're back and thanks for a great pick :D

    Katie xox

  20. honey and pound cake. sounds like a match made in heaven :)

  21. Thanks for making such a great choice this week :)

  22. That looks amazing! And I love the blog!
    Rosie of BooksAndBakes

  23. Welcome back! I'm glad you're feeling better!! Thank you so much for a great pick (although I did tweak it a bit). We enjoyed it!

  24. Michele, welcome back! And, thanks for an easy recipe. It tasted so good!!!

  25. I’m glad to hear you are feeling better!
    Beautiful pound cake, with honey - sounds delicious!

  26. Hi, Pound Cake...what a great son really loves Sara Lee Pound cake, too...and I've been wanting to make a pound cake for some time since I really never buy Sara Lee anymore...I'll try this one...Hope you keep feeling better and better and good luck with everything!!
    Peace, Stephanie

  27. While I did not have a chance to officially blog on the recipe, I really enjoyed making it this weekend and thank you for your choice! I also liked pound cake (Sara Lee seemed SO special) as a child.

  28. Welcome back! Thanks for hosting and selecting such a great recipe. It was awesome.

  29. Welcome back, I'm sure your oven was very cold without you. :)
    Your pound cake looks perfect. The kind that would stick nicely to a fork so every last crumb could be devoured. I love that you used honey! Brilliant idea.

  30. glad you are back and feeling better. this pound cake looks so yummy!

  31. Thank you all for the wonderful comments! And I really appreciate everyone baking along with me!!