Everyone enjoys the simplicity and elegance of pound cakes. It is said to be on the simplest but most satisfying classic dessert while others would comment that it’s already outdated. Pound cakes were said to have originated in Northern Europe around the early 1700s and were said to have entered American cuisine in 1796.
All countries and regions have their variations of pound cakes. From the plain, classic, buttery pound cake, to those mixed with nuts, fruits, and spices, then topped with a glaze for a more sophisticated look, the pound cake will always remain a classic and will always stay as one of the easiest desserts to bake.
Pound Cake Trivia
- A pound each of sugar, eggs, butter, and flour is all you need to make a classic pound cake. The name says it all, making it effortless to recall.
- Each country has their own interpretation of pound cakes. American style requires the classic recipe which calls for a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Meanwhile, the French would love to add mashed bananas and rum, Mexicans would add raisins, ad both Colombians and Venezuelans would soak the cake in wine, fill it with cream, and sprinkle it with sugar.
Pound Cake Buying Guide
Pound cakes can be home-made or purchased from the artisan bakers at your local bakery. Commercially produced pound cakes with different cake bases, fillings, and icing decorations are also available at the supermarket.
The best pound cakes are buttery and moist, with just a little hint of crumb. This indicates that the cake was well-mixed and well-baked to achieve the perfect texture. The light, golden-brown crust and slightly crispy exterior indicate that the right oven temperature was used in baking.
Never buy stale pound cakes which are already hard, crumbly, and almost tasteless. Remember that pound cakes lose quality as time goes by, it turns dry, crumby, and it loses its buttery flavor. You don’t want to eat cake that has no flavor at all. You also don’t want to choke on dry cake crumbs. So only buy freshly baked pound cakes for your best tasting experience.
Pound Cake Production & Farming in Texas
Pound cakes are a bakery staple in Texas. The cakes have evolved from the most classic recipes to modernized versions. It never fails to include ingredients that would surely satisfy Texans’ palates such as pecans, pralines, and chocolates.
Over the years, local Texan artisan bakers insisted on using Madagascar vanilla which is often labeled as “liquid gold” because of its delicate flavors and aroma. Nielsen Massey has been the choice of vanilla for many bakers and no one would settle for artificial vanilla.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Pound cakes are traditionally baked with all-natural ingredients. The absence of preservatives and chemicals contributes to its old-world charms. However, commercially-produced pound cakes contain preservatives and chemicals to improve their appearance, enhance the flavors, and extend the shelf-life.
Benzoates and sorbates are the most common chemical preservatives used on cakes to prevent the growth of yeast, fungi, and other bacteria. Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are commonly used in jams, jellies, cheese, yogurt, and other condiments and baked goods.
Artificial food coloring and flavoring create the illusion of a richer cake by enhancing the colors and adding chemically-manufactured flavors from essences. Both artificial colors and flavors mimic natural scents and tastes but if you are a seasoned baker, you can easily distinguish the differences. Bakers need to be careful in using these additives and chemicals as they can trigger allergies.
Pound cakes can be packaged as whole cakes or as cake slices. Whole cakes are usually put in a plastic container or a cake box to make transportation and storage easier. However, it’s best to leave the pound cake in its foil packaging, wrap it in cling wrap, and put it in a cake box for gifting.
Enjoying Pound Cakes
Pound cakes can be eaten on their own as their classic flavors never fail to delight consumers. A simple, classy, and luxurious way of eating pound cakes is to eat them with cream, jam, or even marmalades and preserves. It’s a perfect way of complimenting the light and delicate flavors of pound cake with the fullness of the cream, and the concentrated fruitiness of the jams and other preserves.
Storing pound cakes is similar to how other cakes are stored and preserved. Freshly baked unfrosted cakes should be adequately cooled to room temperature. Wrap it in cling film to protect it from moisture or any other unpleasant odors. Store in the fridge for up to a week. Avoid storing it at longer times as the cake will dry and lose its flavors.
The Perfect Pound Cake
Light, buttery, and tasty. These perfect pound cakes are perfect for your morning coffee or afternoon tea.
- 3 tablespoons milk (skim, low fat, or whole)
- 3large eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoonsvanilla extract
- 1-1/3 cupscake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a straight edge
- 3/4 cupsugar
- 3/4 teaspoonbaking powder
- 1/4 teaspoonsalt
- 13 tablespoonsunsalted butter, softened (no need to cut it in pieces)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Lightly grease an 8-in x 4-in x 2½-inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess. (Alternatively, use a nonstick cooking spray with flour).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until just combined.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 separate additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to combine. Do not over-mix. (The batter may have a slightly curdled or grainy appearance — that’s okay.)
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap or store it in a large sealable plastic bag.
- The wrapped pound cake will keep for several days at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated.