Monday, June 13, 2016

Million Dollar Pound Cake

  One of my most favorite cakes in the whole wide world is just your basic pound cake. Well, not just ANY pound cake, but a rich, buttery, flavorful, moist pound cake. There's a reason this cake is still a classic. It's so good, it doesn't even need frosting. Just a little powdered sugar and you're good to go.
 So when my sister in law, Mare, posted this Southern Living recipe on Facebook, I immediately saved it so I could give it a try. One thing I noticed right off the bat was that there aren't any leavening ingredients in the recipe. No baking powder, no baking soda. Nothing. It's all in the technique! The thing that makes this cake rise is whipping the butter and sugar. Your batter becomes light and fluffy and bakes up beautifully. Cool, huh? I also love that it uses regular basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. And it's not just any old boring pound cake either. It tastes AMAZING! It kinda tastes like a sugar cookie, only in the form of a cake. Absolutely delish! Perfect with some berries and whipped cream, or perfectly plain with just a cup of coffee.
 I think you'll agree that this is one of the best pound cakes you'll ever taste!

1 pound butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Heat oven to 300ºF.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. (The butter will become a lighter yellow color; this is an important step, as the job of the mixer is to incorporate air into the butter so the cake will rise. It will take 1 to 7 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer.) Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. (Again, the times will vary, and butter will turn to a fluffy white.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow yolk disappears.
Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. (The batter should be smooth and bits of flour should be well incorporated; to rid batter of lumps, stir gently with a rubber spatula.) Stir in extracts.
Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. (Use vegetable shortening or butter to grease the pan, getting every nook and cranny covered. Sprinkle a light coating of flour over the greased surface.)
Bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

I recommend a bundt pan for this cake. Most times when I use a tube pan, I don't invert it for serving. But this cake doesn't really dome up very nicely, so I think it works better to flip the cake over.
 No, that's not a typo. Yes, you bake it for that long. Low and slow. 300ºF for 1 hour and 40 minutes. I know it's a long time, but I promise you it's worth it! 
Instead of greasing and flouring the pan, I just sprayed the hell out of it with baking spray (which is cooking spray with flour added).
Since the batter is very sweet, I added a pinch of salt to balance everything and to bring out the flavor a little. I also placed the cake pan on a sheet pan in the oven, just in case anything baked over. Turns out this was a very good idea!
Not a fan of almond? Use a different extract! How about orange or lemon? Any kind will work!

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