Pound cake is the simplest of recipes yet creates something that seems extravagant, rich, and delicious. The recipe is simple purely out of necessity. Pound cake dates back to Britain in the early 1700s. At that time, many citizens couldn’t read and write, so the recipe needed to be easy to remember and pass down orally.
Pound cake in that era was literally a cake made from one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. As far as recipes go, you can’t create a recipe any easier to remember than that. The cake included no leavening agents, relying on fresh eggs instead. The resulting cake was often very dense, but its easy preparation and lengthy shelf life ensured that this recipe would live on.
Over the years, the recipe has changed slightly in order to create a lighter cake with a more balanced flavor. Today’s pound cake no longer includes one pound of each ingredient, but it does stay true to the original intent. This recipe is simple, includes no leavening agents, and tastes as good four days later as it does the first day it is made. The very best attributes of pound cake have lived on for centuries, a true testament to the delicious nature of pound cake.
Since we became chicken keepers, and later duck keepers, I find myself looking for recipes that celebrate the fresh eggs we collect from the coop and duck house each day. During spring, those eggs abound and I find myself reaching for the recipes in my collection that use a good number of them. I have found that eight eggs is the ideal amount for this cake, giving it a beautiful yellow color from our girl’s fresh eggs and a lovely texture. When I decide to make a batch of fresh lemon curd to serve alongside this cake, I can put a full dozen of our fresh eggs to delicious use.
I like to use a homemade cake flour substitute for most cakes, including this one. Cake flour is difficult for me to purchase at the store due to our family’s food allergies. Luckily, I’ve learned that a combination of All-purpose flour and cornstarch from our pantry deliver the same qualities as store bought cake flour. As an added bonus, I don’t have to keep another specialty flour on hand.
To me, this cake is a harbinger of spring, a celebration of egg season, and a wonderful way to share a beautiful and a delicious old fashioned treat with friends and family. I’m willing to bet that this recipe will live on in your baking arsenal for years to come just as it has endured in mine.
- 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 8 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a Bundt or tube pan and dust lightly with flour, tapping to knock any excess flour out of the pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
- Using a stand mixer or sturdy hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to high, beating for 5 minutes if using a stand mixer or 8 minutes if using a hand mixer. The increased mixing time will help to incorporate air into the mix, lightening the texture of the cake. The mixture should be pale yellow and fluffy when finished.
- Add the eggs one or two at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition to fully incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding approximately half of the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed just until the flour has been incorporated. Add the heavy cream and mix on low speed until well mixed. Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Rap the pan on the counter to help release air bubbles and create a more even texture in the finished cake. Transfer the pan to the warm oven. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes until the surface of the cake is a beautiful golden brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with small crumbs attached.
- Remove the cake from the oven to a wire rack to cool. After 15 minutes, invert the pan onto the wire rack, remove the cake from the pan, and allow to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon curd or whipped cream and fresh berries.