The very first thing I learnt how to bake as a kid was a pound cake. This rich and buttery cake remains relevant and holds its own among the millions of cake recipes out there. Unlike the original cake from which this cake got its name, this recipe is a lot lighter and richer and does not require a large volume of ingredients. The pound cakes I grew up eating were the first to introduce me to nutmeg as a spice. This is a family recipe I hold dear to my heart and I am happy to share it with you all.
(1) 240 Grams Cake Flour (2 Cups)
(2) 226 Grams Unsalted Butter (1 Cup)
(3) 200 Grams Granulated White Sugar (1 Cup)
(4) 4 Large Eggs
(5) 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
(6) 4 Tablespoons Milk
(7) 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
(8) 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
(9) 1/2 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg
A Few Notes: The pound cake is one of those cakes where the ingredients speak for themselves. Please ensure that you use the very best of ingredients when making this cake. Do not be tempted to substitute the butter with margarine or shortening as butter is the principal flavoring agent of this cake. Your eggs should be fresh and your ingredients should be measured as accurately as possible. Do not us artificial vanilla extract as the flavor is very inferior to pure vanilla extract. The nutmeg is not a usual ingredient in pound cakes, but it makes a whole world of difference when you use it. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking. This rule applies to the butter, eggs and milk.
(1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). The oven needs to be hot when the cake goes in.
(2) Butter or grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. I prefer to butter my pan for pound cakes because of the extra buttery flavor it adds to the cake.
(3) In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Grate your fresh nutmeg into the flour and mix with a whisk to aerate the flour.
(4) In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and mix at medium speed for about 2 minutes or till creamy. Use your rubber spatula to scrape and incorporate butter sticking to the base and sides of the mixing bowl. It is important that your butter be at room temperature so the creaming process can be executed properly.
(5) Stop mixer and scrape bowl with spatula. Switch mixer back on. With the mixer running at medium speed, pour in sugar slowly so it can be picked up by the mixer blade and blended with the butter. Continue to cream your butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Use your spatula at intervals to scrape bottom and sides of bowl. This method of baking cakes is called the creaming method as opposed to the genoise method which starts with the eggs and sugar.
(6) After creaming the butter and sugar together, add the eggs one at a time with the mixer still running at medium speed. Do not put in all your eggs at once or the batter will separate.
(7) Add the vanilla extract to the batter and mix well. Scrape sides of bowl.
(8) Finally, add the flour mixture and milk in 3 additions, starting and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour). This way of incorporating the flour into the batter will ensure that the batter is smooth and not over mixed.
(9) As soon as most of the flour has blended into the batter, stop the mixer and incorporate whatever leftover flour you might have with your spatula. Do not mix the cake for long after adding the flour or the cake will be very dense and hard as opposed to light and fluffy.
(10) Pour cake batter into prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake cake in preheated oven for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Do not over bake cake as this will make it dry. If cake starts becoming too brown, cover with foil paper about 40 minutes into baking.
(11) Remove cake from oven when ready and place on a wire rack for about 10 minutes for it to cool down a bit. After 10 minutes, remove cake from baking pan and allow to cool down completely on wire rack before slicing. I must confess that this is a tall order as I always find myself slicing into this cake while it is still hot. It is very difficult to resist this cake or the smell of nutmeg that fills your kitchen during the baking period.
Enjoy your rich and buttery cake with your family and loved ones and pass on the tradition of baking.
This pound cake recipe can be doubled and baked in two, 7, 8 or 9 inch pans and frosted to create a celebration cake.
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