14 October 2013

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Pound cakes are tricky buggers.  It's waaay too easy to make them too dry, too dense, too heavy, etc....  There's almost nothing better in the world than a good pound cake, though.  They're just the essence of all things cake -- tons of butter, sugar, flour and eggs -- that's the actual composition of the first pound cakes.  The recipe dates back to the 1700's and was originally a pound each of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs.  Pound cakes now usually have leavening to make them lighter, extracts to enhance the flavor, variations in the fats to increase the moisture in the cake, the additions of nuts, or the addition of fruit.  Some make the argument that pound cake shouldn't even be called pound cake any more since most folks don't weigh their ingredients these days.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  They're still pound cakes to me even if it's only in the spirit of the original.

This is a pretty standard pound cake with the exception of swapping out all the white sugar for brown sugar.  The molasses in the brown sugar adds a lot of moisture to the cake and a ton of flavor.  It's not a subtle flavor either.  It's a full on, in your face brown sugar flavor that gets better with age.  This cake is pretty good the day it's made.  It's downright fantastic after a couple of days.  Be sure the store this baby in an airtight container, though.  An uncovered pound cake loses moisture like crazy and you don't wanna end up with a dry cake.  Serve this up warm with some peaches and whipped cream and you'll be smack in the middle of pound cake heaven.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake
makes one bundt cake

Print me, Please!!!
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 325°.  Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan, tapping out the excess flour; set aside.

Beat the butter on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the brown sugars and beat for another 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the almond extract and beat until combined.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat on low speed until just combined.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 75 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

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