Pound cakes are delicious and so simple to bake. Having the right equipment is important for successful baking. Nobody likes to dash around the kitchen looking for a measuring cup. Baking a pound cake begins with gathering the tools and ingredients. There are many different flavor variations for pound cakes. Creative bakers can add fun flavors like sour cream and chocolate to their recipes. Although the baking process takes time, the results are rewarding. When following basic directions, anybody can be a marvelous baker. Friends and relatives will be asking for this easy recipe. Baking a pound cake from scratch is simple and yields a delicious desert. Pound cakes also make delightful gifts during the holidays.
All utensils and equipment should be ready ahead of time. Pound cakes are traditionally baked in Bundt pans. They can also be baked in straight loaf pans. Either pan will yield a delicious cake. Most professional and amateur bakers prefer standing mixers. The standing mixer allows the baker to have a hands-free approach to the recipe. Hand beaters will also get the job done if a standing mixer is not available. Getting out various spatulas and spoons prior to baking is a good idea. Mixing bowls will be needed for dry and wet ingredients. Finally measuring cups and spoons should be at the ready.
Ingredients for a Standard Pound Cake
Measuring ingredients is half the battle when baking cakes. The basic ingredients for a pound cake are three sticks of butter, one-half of a cup of vegetable shortening, two and one-half cups of sugar, one-half teaspoon of baking powder, one-half teaspoon of salt, three cups of cake flour, five eggs, three-fourths of a cup of milk and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. The baking powder, salt and flour can all go in the same bowl. Pre-measuring these ingredients makes the whole process go so much smoother.
The first step in preparing the pound cake is preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. First, the butter must be creamed with the shortening. Creaming the butter is achieved with the mixer on low. Next, the sugar can be added. After adding the sugar, the bowl containing the baking powder, salt and flour can be added. Next, the eggs can be added, one at a time. When this mixture is smooth the vanilla extract should be introduced. Finally, the flour and milk can be added. The flour and milk should be alternated so that the ingredients are mixed in smoothly. When there are no more lumps in the batter it is ready for baking.
The batter can be poured into a greased and floured pan. A spatula used around the edges can help to get all of the excess batter into the pan. The cake should bake for approximately 60 to 80 minutes. Leaving the oven light on is a good way to check the cake’s progress. It is important to keep the oven door shut. Frequently opening the oven can let the heat out. The cake should be done when the top is golden brown and crunchy looking. When the cake looks done it can be taken out and tested. The cake can be tested using a toothpick or a knife. When inserted into the cake, it should come out clean. If the toothpick or knife comes out with wet batter on it, the cake is not done. The cake should be left to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Creativity goes a long way. Different ingredients can be added to pound cakes for distinctive flavors. Sour cream, chocolate, cream cheese and lemon are all ingredients that can add a delicious dimension to pound cakes. An important, but often over looked tip, is to use natural vanilla. Artificial vanilla does not give the pound cake the same rich flavor that natural vanilla does. It is important to allow the butter to come to room temperature. Soft butter is much easier to cream. When baking a pound cake, preparation is the best way to ensure success.
Visual learners will appreciate this pound cake recipe video.