Pound cake is an old-fashioned cake that has been around for a very long time. It is believed that it dates back to the early 18th century (but you can bake a fresh one today). Its well deserved name is the result of having to use a pound of each of its ingredients. Originally, the recipe called for a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, and (you guessed it) a pound of flour. Of course, the use of a pound unit yields to a large amount of cake. Families back then were larger, so there was no need to make a small amount. Although the recipe ratio of 1:1:1:1 remained the same, the ingredients have been scaled down to create a smaller cake that will accommodate today’s family size. A pound cake recipe was very easy to remember without having to write it down. So it was passed down among family and friends and from generation to generation.
The introduction of leavening ingredients such as baking powder and baking soda in the middle of the 19th century has made this cake less dense. Artificial and natural flavors, such as vanilla, almond and lemon extracts, were also introduced to the recipes. Today, the cake can be flavored with rum and other liquors and with orange, lemon and lime zest.
Go ahead, try baking one and adding your own secret ingredient. More than likely you won’t have to chop wood for a wood stove to bake one. If you have a mixer like a Kitchenaid, all you have to do is measure the ingredients, mix and bake. You could have an old-fashioned, delicious pound cake in no time to complement your meal.
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for about 6-7 minutes. Sift the baking soda, salt and flour together. Add eggs to the creamed mixture, mixing each egg 1 at a time. Add vanilla and incorporate sifted flour alternating with sour cream. Mix until well blended and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool for at least 10 minutes before inverting pan onto a plate.