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pound for pound

If you are like me, you are looking forward to this upcoming holiday weekend. Not only is the weather supposed to be fantastic here in Northern California, but I’m actually taking a four-day-weekend (hello furlough Friday!) so things are looking up for me. And like any other celebration, this calls for dessert.

Specifically cake. I realize that you all might be caked-out considering I’ve popped out lots of cake recipes in the past month. But you all voted for more cake, so I’m simply following your lead. I promise to get my cookie-on later next month.

I had high hopes for this Vanilla Bean Pound Cake form King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Book. It boasted a deep vanilla flavor and nothing has sounded so enticing to me as vanilla right now. The coming of summer makes me yearn for the more simplified sweet tastes. Not necessarily light (who am I kidding, this is dessert) but not heavy on the tastebuds.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with this cake and I debated about not sharing this recipe with you. Not because the recipe was faulty; I blame my lack of concentration and crunching deadlines. The moment I tossed this cake in to the oven, I had a gut feeling that our time together wasn’t going to end well. Call it a baking intuition, but I’m sure you all know what I am talking about. Sure enough, an hour later, this pound cake emerged, lopsided and overly dry. I was really pissed, especially since my house smelled heavenly but what my final product was not up to par with my standards.

The cake should have been moist and fluffy, but alas it was and dry. My flour amounts must have been way off because this cake should not have been as stiff as a board. Flavor wise, I thought the vanilla came through and was very refreshing, but I’m glad that I put a light glaze on top or else it would have been slightly dull. Be generous with the glaze as it will add depth to the pound cake. Plus, who doesn’t love the crunchy sugary bite you get with this kind of glaze?

With Memorial Day Weekend upon us, I think that serving this dessert with some fresh fruit would be fantastic. Don’t forget the fresh whipped cream of a scoop of ice cream. Maybe throw a quick Sunday Brunch and break out the flip-flops and bathing suits? Whatever you, get out and enjoy yourself. It’s a holiday, after all!

Vanilla Pound Cake
Origin: King Arthur Whole Grain Baking
Yield: Two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 loaf cakes (10 slices each)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 to 75 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 15 minutes

● 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
● 1 cup unbleached bread flour
● 1 tsp salt
● 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
● 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
● 1 tsp baking powder
● 4 large eggs
● 1 cup sour cream
● 1 tbsp vanilla extract
● 1 tsp grated lemon zest, or 1 tsp almond extract

Crunchy Sugar Glaze:
● 3 tbsp granulated sugar
● 1 tsp vanilla extract
● 2 tsp water

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Lightly grease the pan or pans of your choice.
Whisk together the flours and salt in a medium bowl. Cream together butter, sugars, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. Lower the mixer’s speed and add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest, if using.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s). Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. While the cake is baking, mix together the glaze ingredients, if using.
Remove the cake from he oven and brush the glaze over the top of the cake(s). Return to the oven and continue baking til a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake begins to pull back from the edges of the pan, 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, carefully remove the cake from the pan and return to the rack to finish cooling completely.

Printable Recipe Here.

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May 20, 2009 - 10:11 pm

snooky doodle - Pity it didn t come as expected. It looks nice though. Maybe the amount of flour is too much for 1 cup butter

May 21, 2009 - 7:33 am

stephchows - I’m a big fan of that cookbook but haven’t made this recipe yet. Bummer that it didn’t turn out well :( At least your house smells nice :)

May 21, 2009 - 7:45 pm

Hannah - This has happened to me many of time. And I always know when it isn’t going to turn out! It’s so frustrating.

May 22, 2009 - 3:33 am

Steph - I hate it when baked goods don’t turn out! They pound cake looks very pretty though. I think the recipe is off.. only 1 cup of sugar and I wonder why they would use bread flour?

January 5, 2010 - 7:04 am

Adelina - Love reading your post! I also made a Dori Greenspan’s version of “Perfection Pound Cake” and I was greatly disappointed as well! That is to say I know “exactly” how you felt when you had “high hope” for the end result but it didn’t work out that way! I guess that is part of the baking/ learning experience! Have you successfuly found a pound cake recipe that works for you since this post? If you like, look for a recipe of Moist Whipped Cream Pound Cake by chef Heather Hurlbert. I haven’t made that version as of yet, but the recipe’s called for whipping the heavy cream to soft peaks then incorporate that into the batter. So to me, that is something entirely new for a pound cake! Then, it does sound like a heavenly pound cake, that, you should give it a try!

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