Nothing should be easier to make than a pound cake – yet so many recipes are dry and boring. The very first cake my Mom taught me to make was the pound cake. Having grown up in Germany, ingredients were measured by weight rather than cups. This is how pound cake was made: we weighed the eggs (usually 4 eggs for one cake), and then weighed out the flour, sugar, and butter to weigh the same. Then, my mom would drain some kind of canned fruit (usually peaches) and weigh those and add them to the cake. I can tell you that this is the moistest pound cake you could try!
However, sometimes I want to make a plain pound cake and maybe serve a slice with strawberries and whipped cream on the side. So I took a closer look at some recipes and compared the ingredients. When I looked at Paula Deen’s recipe I noticed it contained almost double the sugar content than most. At first, I thought that it would turn out too sweet. But then I remembered my last attempt at a pound cake and realized that it really wouldn’t have hurt to make it a little sweeter to bring out more flavor. Sugar also adds moisture to cakes. So I tried it and it was really good. When I think about it – adding canned fruit also added more sugar!
Here is Paula Deen’s recipe:
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups flour
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda OR baking powder (see below)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or other flavoring of your choice
- 1 cup sour cream or substitute (see below)
Cream the sugar and butter, then add sour cream and vanilla extract, then add flour, mixed with chosen leavening agent, and eggs, alternating.
Bake in a 10″ tube pan on 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
This pound cake comes out with a nice buttery crust, thanks to the higher sugar content. It is moist and rich, without being heavy. Just as it should be!
Note: You can replace the sour cream with cream cheese (which yields a much denser but still moist cake and is great with 1 cup added chocolate chips!), heavy cream or milk, then you would use baking powder. With an acid ingredient like sour cream or yogurt, use baking soda.
You can also substitute 1/4 of the sour cream with orange juice or lemon juice, which is what I like to do.
If you have ever seen the 7-up pound cake recipe, it adds 7-up or Sprite instead of the sour cream. In that case, you can omit the baking soda. That adds about another 2 tbsp. of sugar, but is very moist…