Pound cakes date back hundreds of years and were baked by our grandmothers and their grandmothers too. Traditionally a pound cake consists of a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs and a pound of flour, hence the name. How easy is that! Even the most inexperienced baker can remember the recipe by heart, and bake a delicious pound cake at a moment’s notice.
These days most so-called pound cakes have been adapted so much they barely resemble a pound cake at all. Whilst I have no problem adapting a recipe to improve it, I quite like the idea of going back to a very traditional recipe and appreciating it for what it is. A humble cake, with no fancy icings, glazes or decorations.
As there is no raising agent in the recipe, its really important to beat the butter, sugar and eggs well to incorporate as much air as possible. Even so, a true pound cake has quite a dense and buttery texture so it’s perfect served alongside a cup of tea or coffee. If it’s light and fluffy you’re after, you’re better off making a chiffon cake.
I have fond memories of my mom making this cake and letting my sisters and I fight over who got to lick the bowl. We’d also have fun deciding which of the 3 variations she would make. I’ve included all 3 variations here, each one equally delicious.
*A pound is about 450g and a traditional recipe would make 3 loaf cakes. I have scaled the recipe down to make 1 cake.
(Makes 1 loaf )
3 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a loaf tin.
- Allow the butter to soften at room temperature. Using a stand or electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar well.
- Add in the eggs one at a time and beat very well.
- Gradually fold in the flour.
- Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
1) Lemon Pound Cake:
Add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon to the butter/sugar before creaming.
2) Marble Cake:
Add 5ml vanilla extract to the mixture after beating in the eggs. Set aside 2/3 of the batter. To the remaining batter, sift in 3 tablespoons of cocoa and add 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix well. Drop large spoonfuls of the vanilla and chocolate mixtures alternately into the loaf tin. Use the back of a wooden spoon to marble the mixture (don’t overmix!).
3) Apple Pound Cake:
Pour the batter into the loaf tin. Peel and thinly slice 1 large green apple. Push the apple slices into the batter and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of cinnamon.