The history of pound cake dates back to the 1700’s and was an English creation. The traditional pound cake started with a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of sugar and a pound of cracked open eggs. Today many countries have their own version of a pound cake recipe. Today here in the United States we have many pound cake recipes made with a great variety of ingredients.
Before going on I want to share a nice story with you. Recently, I have truly enjoyed working online with Jackie who was having problems in making her pound cake recipe. As I said, here we have all kinds of pound cakes recipes. Unlike the original recipe from our history of pound cake, there are many such as the sour cream pound cake recipes and the cream cheese pound cake recipes. Jackie’s is a combination of both of these. She wrote that her mother and sister have made it for years and it is always delicious. Every time Jackie makes the same recipe it flops. She assured me that this is the best pound cake ever in the history of pound cake!
This is one determined lady! After replacing her oven, she was sure her cake would turn out good. She couldn’t wait to try the recipe again; but again it flopped. After hearing her story about how she was using the same recipe her mom and sister used, the same ingredients and the same instructions, I was thinking perhaps it was something a little more complex to solve like a difference in altitude. Then I got the clue! Jackie said it rose very nicely and then it fell. This told me there was too much leavening in the cake.
Throughout the history of pound cake it has been a dense cake and does not need much leavening; the original version had no leavening. I reread the recipe and saw the pound cake recipe had baking soda and cake flour. All cake flour is not the same! If the cake flour had no leavening this would work but I have bought cake flour with no leavening, a little leavening and too much leavening. I found cake flour not to be consistent at all unless you stick with the same brand all the time. That is if you can always find the same brand in the store all the time. This is why if I do need cake flour, I choose to make my own.
Anyway I suggested that Jackie switch the recipe to regular sifted flour. I felt sorry for Jackie as many times as she tried to make this cake and had to throw it out. I decided to make it myself and see what I could do. Honestly, by now I was getting excited over this cake; I wanted to taste this cake! I started by measuring the 3 cups of flour. After sifting once, I measured again the three cups and then took out 6 scant tablespoons of the flour (2 for each cup) and put back in my container. I also increased the baking soda from ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon since there will be no leavening in the flour ; I do like to use baking soda with sour cream in recipes. After adding the soda and salt to the flour, I sifted the dry ingredients 3 times to make it nice and airy.
I decided to start baking the cake at the temperature of 325F degrees instead of 300F degrees; so I preheated my oven. I followed Jackie’s directions to prepare the pan and to beat together the creamed mixture; butter, cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. When combining the flour mixture with the creamed mixture I am always careful not to overbeat; beat only until blended. After this I spooned the batter into the prepared pan and placed it in the oven to bake.
Needless to say, I was looking in the oven window every 5 minutes checking on it baking. After 30 minutes I could see it rising and looking delicious. After 1 hour I decided to lower the temperature to 300F degrees and let it finish baking. After another 55 minutes, I knew it was ready to be removed from the oven. It looked perfect! A beautiful golden brown with a wonderful fragrance, but the test will be in the taste. I couldn’t wait! Can you imagine the flavor of a cake with lots of butter, cream cheese and sour cream! Forget the calories!
Well, that was a long wait! The pound cake was still slightly warm but the cut was into a perfect pound cake. The first bite told me that Jackie was correct when she said it is the most delicious pound cake! I couldn’t wait to email her and tell her the good news.
Read part of Jackie’ s response:
“Your cake turned out beautiful! P.S. I told my sister that I've been consulting with an expert. I shared with her your advice on using regular flour. She was like, "That's all I've ever used. What kind of flour have you been using???". I tell ya Francis, I had to place the phone down. 20 plus years of following HER recipe which specifically states to use cake flour--I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or scream LOL. “
(Jackie sounds like she has a wonderful family. This is what makes great memories!)
SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE (Jackie’s cake recipe with my changes)
Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Grease and flour angel food cake pan.
Measure and sift 3 cups flour.
Measure 3 cups flour again and take out 6 scant tablespoons of the flour and do not use.
Add salt and baking soda to measured flour and sift 3 times; set aside.
Cream together the butter and cream cheese.
Gradually add in the sugar while beating.
Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Blend in the sour cream and vanilla.
Add in the flour mixture and beat only until blended.
Spoon into prepared pan and bake at 325F degrees for 1 hour.
Reduce heat to 300F degrees and bake another 50 to 55 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
NOTE: I emailed to Jackie the changes that I made to her recipe ( you can see how the history of pound cake gets changed) and I am waiting for her to try it again. I will let you know when I hear back.
The history of pound cake tells us that now any cake with equal proportions of eggs, flour, sugar and shortening, even if the proportions are smaller, is considered a pound cake. After 1900, many started to add leavenings, baking soda or baking powder, to make lighter versions of the pound cake recipes. Some add different flavors like vanilla or almond to change the taste of the cake. But all this variety only make the history of pound cake more interesting.
Many countries got in on the act of creating their own pound cake recipes throughout the history of pound cake. Lemon juice and chocolate are popular ingredients to vary the flavor of pound cakes. Other ingredients such as dried fruit, especially raisins and cherries are added in some countries to change the flavor and texture. The Columbians are known to drench their pound cake recipes with wine and top with cream which are famous during their celebrations.
CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE
Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Grease and flour tube pan.
Sift flour, measure again; add cocoa and baking powder and sift 2 times.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time beating after each.
Add milk alternating with dry ingredients into creamed mixture.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake 80 to 90 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
This wonderful chocolate pound cake is a great addition in the history of pound cake!