I've been baking pretty steadily for the past few years, but somehow have never managed to get around to making a pound cake. I think I've always found them a bit intimidating and would rather just go the good old fashioned layer cake route, which is what I'm most comfortable with.
I feel like so many things can go wrong with a pound cake...it can get too dry and then there is no icing to mask the problem (literally and figuratively)....they have a bad reputation for sticking to the pan.....they can collapse during the baking process leaving you with nothing but a big battered mess and a bad mood. I'm pretty sure the list could go on and that a lot of you reading this have a few mishaps of your own that you could add.
I had been perusing various sites and blogs for a pound cake recipe that would be worthy of my maiden voyage with the dessert, but always came up short: the recipe instructions wouldn't be specific enough ("bake 40 minutes to 95 minutes"...what?!), there would be less than glowing reviews from frustrated bakers, maybe the picture accompanying the recipe couldn't exactly be characterized as aesthetically pleasing which would lead me to the believe that it probably didn't taste good either.
I was about to write off my search as a lost cause when I got wind of the infamous sour cream pound cake recipe that belongs to my hubby's stepmom. Cathy has always turned out delicious meals, but apparently this recipe takes the cake (pun intended). My husband's grandfather has even dubbed the dessert the best cake he's ever eaten.
The crust is hands down my favorite part.
And I must say that I have now seen the light and will be turning to this recipe from here on out when I need a no-fail sweet staple. This recipe was super easy to follow and produced the most amazing cake that had both that perfect crackled crust on the outside and the moist flavorful inside that I was looking for.
Cathy's suggestion to dust the pan with sugar also turned out to be a new favorite tip. I used a 2-piece fluted angelfood cake pan and sprayed it with Pam for Baking (it contains flour) and then sprinkled the pan with some sugar. The usually frustrating task of removing the cake from the pan was a breeze and I loved the extra bit of flavor the sugar dusting gave the crust.
*Two extra tids bits and tips:
1. I will say just a teeny bit of batter seeped out of the bottom of my 2-piece pan, but it didn't affect my cake. Next time I'll just set a baking pan underneath the cake in the oven to eliminate any small mess.
2. I was a bit unsure of how to remove the cake from the pan since technically it wasn't made for a pound cake. If I were to flip the pan over like I normally do it would have ruined the crust. I ended up pulling the top portion of the pan out of the bottom by the flute and then literally used my hands to lift the entire cake off of the flute after it had cooled for about 30 minutes. This may not be the correct way to do it, but it worked for me.
What about you? Do you have a favorite pound cake recipe? If not, let this be yours!
Sour Cream Pound Cake adapted from a family recipe
1/2 lb (1 C) unsalted butter, softened
3 C sugar
1 C sour cream
6 eggs, at room temperature and separated
3 C flour, sifted
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare tube pan. *I use Pam Baking spray since it contains flour and then dust the pan with a bit of sugar. It adds to the great crust and helps keep the cake from sticking to the pan.
Cream sugar and butter. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add sour cream. Mix thoroughly.
Add vanilla and almond. Mix in 1 C flour.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Fold into batter.
Add remaining 2 C flour, baking soda and salt.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes (mine took 1 hour and 25 minutes) or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.