Quote from Intro:

"Anyone can cook, and most everyone should. It's a sorry sign that many people consider cooking 'from scratch' an unusual and even rare talent.
In fact, it is a simple and rewarding craft, one that anyone can learn and even succeed at from the get-go."
-Bittman, HTCE

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pound Cake

Recipe: Pound Cake
Page: HTCE p. 906
Rating: ***-**** (depends on purpose; plain pound cake rates *** but a plain cake as a base for more flavorful glazes or cake soaks would be a ****).

Before I tell you my impressions of this cake, it's worth knowing the background from which I'm rating it. When I got married, I was instructed that my dear hubby liked ONE particular cake for his birthday; I refer to it as "The Pound Cake." Why? It's his grandmother's recipe and calls for mixing the batter for a full 20 minutes. I won't tell you how many cheap mixers I've burned up over the years on this admittedly delicious pound cake.

This year, since it's not for his actual birthday, I thought I'd clandestinely substitute my buddy Mark's version. Why? I figured that, in the spirit of his book, Mark would have me do something benignly simple and would tell me if mixing it for 20 minutes was really necessary. I scanned the ingredient list: looked fairly similar but with less sugar. Worth a try. I did NOT read all the directions until I was ready to make the cake.

(sigh) Mark... have you let me down? WHY are you having me mix the egg yolks in one at a time with the mixer, mix in the flour by hand, and then, with "freshly cleaned" beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold those egg whites into the VERY thick cake batter thoroughly and gently? The pro in this: I'm not going to burn up my mixer on egg whites.

The con? The cake is fairly dry. Good flavor and crust, but dry. It would definitely make a terrific base for the glazes mentioned (we're trying the orange one tomorrow), but I will continue making "The Pound Cake" in years to come for the birthday boy. Mark's version was a bit too labor intensive to justify the loss in texture I've come to love from "The Pound Cake."

I would like to point out, however, that my buddy Mark agrees with me in one key area: pound cake is great toasted with butter. To those that scoff in horror at eating cake for breakfast, let me merely point out that there is the same amount of sugar in this cake as there is in most "muffins" or "quick breads." There are more eggs and thus, more protein. What could be a better breakfast? Mark's version is nice and dry and will soak up lots of butter. Mmmmm.... I can hardly wait for breakfast!

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