My Great Auntie Anne recently asked me to make a cake for a family event, and then my sister Courtney narrowed it down further by requesting it be a pound cake.
It took me about thirty seconds of flipping through my “King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Cookbook” to decide that it would be Vanilla Pound Cake in a Bundt pan – simplicity at its absolute finest.
Also, we all know I just can’t resist a Bundt.
The American version of pound cake was named because it traditionally called for “a pound each” of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. As you can imagine, this made for a fairly large cake. Recipes have been modified and perfected over time, but all proper pound cakes should have the same basic 1:1:1:1 ratio. They should be buttery, somewhat dense, and shine alone or with a generous topping of fresh fruit.
Many countries have their own variation of “pound cake” that can include dried fruits, nuts, or added chocolate or lemon flavor.
This pound cake owes its vanilla oomph to the full 3/4 cup of vanilla glaze that is poured on top while it is still warm.
When you are done spooning and brushing, the cake looks and smells like a heavenly 10-cup glazed donut.
I only wish I had taken the time to snap a few photos of it on the family picnic dessert table, or sliced on the paper plate. Unfortunately, I was too busy eating and socializing.
At least it gives me an excuse to make it again – maybe next time topping it with seasonal sliced peaches? Or as part of a festive Independence Day trifle?
What do you put on or in your pound cake?
Vanilla Pound Cake
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Cookbook
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 ¾ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9- to 10-inch tube or Bundt pan, or a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugars, salt, vanilla, and baking powder.
- Add flour and mix until incorporated. It will look like a very thick paste.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions. The batter will be light and fluffy.
- Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes while you make the glaze.
- For the glaze, bring the sugar, water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Turn the warm cake out onto a wire rack and poke holes in it all over with a long, thin skewer.
- Spoon or brush the glaze all over the cake. Don’t waste a drop!
- Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving.