Pound cakes are wonderful for their simplicity and versatility. If you are a novice baker this would be the recipe to begin with. You cannot fail, that's how simple this is to make. And you don't need to be super precise either. The cake is not using any baking powder or any other rising agents, so is not supposed to be airy and fluffy, it will be dense and heavy almost. The butter will make it crumble beautifully and just melt in your mouth.
I love how this cake turned out looking like our traditional Tatar yurts :)
There are so many variations to them, you can really experiment, with the recipe itself as well as with the way you serve them.
Bake a simple vanilla pound cake and serve a slice with a dollop of whipped cream, sour cream, or even greek yogurt, with fresh fruit, or a little jam, maple syrup, or honey. Melt some chocolate and pour over, or even make some ganache. Or frost it whole. The possibilities are endless. I just sprinkled confectioners sugar on the one I made last night. I wanted something simple.
You can also add a lot of different ingredients in the batter. My mom makes a great one, putting in one cup each of: pieces of walnuts, turkish delight cut in very small cubes, and raisins. You mix this 3 ingredients with 1 tablespoon of flour to coat them, then just mix them with the batter, and bake as usual. The choice of fruits and nuts can vary to suit your taste. Could also add chocolate chips. The result is a rich dense cake, perfect to serve with tea, hot glass of milk, hot chocolate or coffee.
This cake is great also because you can keep it for longer than a normal cake, even if it dries out it will still be yummy and delicious, almost like a biscotto.
Another thing you can do with a pound cake recipe is to flavor it with orange or lemon juice, just by adding 1/2 cups in the batter, with the liquid ingredients, before adding the dry ones. You will just have to increase a little the flour quantity, I think 1/3 cups more would be enough.
This is the base recipe for the simple vanilla pound cake
Ingredients: all must be at room temperature
2 sticks of butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups flour
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F ( 180 C ) and butter a 8 inch pan, or a loaf pan.
In the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat on medium ( 4 on my KitchenAid stand mixer ) the butter and sugar for 8-10 minutes, until light and fluffy. This step is very important, please don't cut down the beating time.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each just until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Add the vanilla extract and salt. Mix.
Reduce speed on low, and add slowly the flour , mixing just until incorporated. You don't want to over beat it now.
Just pour the batter in the pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, depending on your oven. Test it with a toothpick after 45 minutes and see if it comes out clean.
Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack, then place on a serving platter and let cool completely.
You can decorate it, or frost it as you like.
This cake is like a white canvas for the artist in you, have fun with it and enjoy!
Sorry for the bad photos, the lighting is not very good in my kitchen and took them late last night :)