What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to poundcake, the name contains the recipe. A post from the Huffington Post earlier this week explained the history behind the name of the classic dessert.
The recipe for poundcake is simple. Take the basic ingredients for most baked goods: flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and mix a pound of each together, and there you go. Rich and simple. This is my kind of baked good.
I always thought the name for poundcake must come from how heavy and dense the cake is, but it’s really named for the ingredients weight. The post also said the traditional recipe for poundcake originated in the 1700s and is Northern European according to food historians.
The original recipe can also be varied to make less cake by decreasing the ratios. As long as the ratios remain the same (equal weight of the ingredients) the poundcake will turn out fine.
Poundcake is perfect for bakers of all levels, because the basic recipe is so simple, but also allows for many different ways to customize your cake. The proportions of the traditional recipe have been modified and modernized, which is reflected in most recipes found now that measure ingredients using cups.
If you’re feeling inspired to try your hand at a poundcake, here is a recipe for chocolate poundcake from Joy of Baking to get you started.
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling hot water
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl mix the cocoa powder into the boiling water until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
In a separate bowl, sift the cake flour with the baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and cooled cocoa mixture. With the mixer on low add the flour mixture and mix only until combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 50 to55 minutesor until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan, re-invert, and cool completely on wire rack.
Will keep, well wrapped, several days at room temperature or it can be frozen for a month or two.
Makes one loaf.
Photo by WorthTheWhisk and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.