Special Pound Cake
Moist, dense, and buttery pound cake is our standard for cake at Moosewood — perfect unadorned, or served with fresh fruit and whipped cream, or frosted, or in a trifle. Once you've mastered the basic cake, try one of our variations and then make up your own.
1 pound butter, softened
1 cup milk
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla, almond, or lemon extract
4 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Generously butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs. Add two cups of flour and beat well.
Mix in the milk and extract. Combine the baking powder and the remaining 2 cups of flour and then add to the batter. Beat well.
Pour the batter into the bundt pan. Bake about 1 hour, until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
When the cake is done, turn it upside down on a plate to cool, leaving the bundt pan on top of the cake for about 20 minutes, so the cake will hold its shape.
•Butterscotch Pecan Pound Cake: Use pure vanilla extract, replace the white sugar with brown sugar, and add 2 cups of toasted pecan halves.
•Oasis Cake: Use apricot juice or coconut milk (see Appendix) instead of milk and add 1/2 cup each of shredded coconut, chopped dried apricots, and chopped dates.
•Cashew or Peanut Cake: Use pure vanilla extract, replace half of the butter with cashew butter or peanut butter, and add 1 cup of cashews or toasted peanuts.
•Cherry-Almond Cake: Use pure almond extract, reduce the milk to 1/2 cup,add 1 cup ground toasted almonds with the flour, and at the last minute fold 1 1/2 cups of fresh, pitted whole cherries into the batter. The fruit adds a lot of liquid to the cake during baking, so this batter is stiffer than usual.
•Whiskey Cake: Replace all or part of the milk with whiskey. This is good served with Vanilla Custard Sauce (p. 278) and peaches.
•Chocolate Yogurt Pound Cake: Replace the milk with plain yogurt, reduce the flour to 31/2 cups, and add 1 cup cocoa. If you wish, brush melted sweet chocolate on the cooled cake.
•Marsala Walnut Pound Cake: Use pure vanilla extract, replace the white sugar with brown sugar, replace the milk with marsala, and add 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts.
•Layered Pound Cake: Carefully cut the cooled basic pound cake into 5 layers with a long, serrated bread knife. Spread raspberry butter or conserve between the layers as you rebuild the cake. Frost with chocolate butter cream frosting