When my Grandmother came to visit us each summer, I would wake early to the incredible smells of biscuits, coffee, bacon and pound cake drifting up the stairwell. It was such a pleasing aroma and rekindles a memory of her that puts a smile on my face with each whiff caught today of the same.
Light on effort, heavy on flavor, pound cake has earned its centuries-long popularity. It owes its name to the traditional ingredients — one pound each of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs — which remain essentially the same today.
The recipe isn’t difficult, but it tends to be a bit finicky so make sure to follow the instructions carefully for cakes that are airy and rich, not tough and dense.
Makes 2 cakes
- 1 pound (3 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 4 sticks softened unsalted butter, plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 9 large, room-temperature eggs
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 5-by-9-inch loaf pans. Combine all-purpose flour and salt in a bowl.
- Cream butter and sugar with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, for 8 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla extract.
- Lightly beat eggs, and add to mixer bowl in 4 additions, mixing thoroughly after each and scraping down sides. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 4 additions, mixing until just incorporated. Divide batter between pans. Tap on counter to distribute; smooth tops.
- Bake until a tester inserted into center of each cake comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack