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Legend has it that pound cake gets its name from its original recipe: a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound eggs and a pound flour. Somewhere along the line, my family adapted it to more modest proportions, but it’s a classic all the same. 

This recipe is a staple in my family’s cake repertoire. It’s simple to make, has simple ingredients, and yet the sophisticate taste always makes me imagine that this is the cake Marie Antoinette was talking about. It does pair perfectly with champagne, after all. 

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It’s particularly perfect quickly seared on the grill, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and piled with fresh, voluptuous June strawberries. It travels well to picnics. It’s welcome at brunch, for afternoon tea or anywhere in between. 

Pound cake is also wildly adaptable. You can get creative with all kind of variations.  Rose pistachio, lemon poppyseed and orange ginger are some of my favourites. This classic vanilla interpretation is the perfect place to start, and from there the possibilities are endless. The world is your oyster. Let your imagination run wild. Etc., etc., etc.

One quick note on using a 30 cm loaf tin: it really is essential to use this longer, thinner tin to get the cake to to cook through completely. The eggy batter is quite dense and I’ve found that the only times this recipe has failed me is when I’ve made it in the wider, shorter regular loaf tins. the cake tends to sink a bit in the middle, and even when I adjust the baking time to ensure it’s cooked all the way through, the cake is just too heavy to hold up as nicely in the wider shape when you slice it.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 C (225 g) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1 2/3 C caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Method:

Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F). Grease and flour a 30 cm loaf tin (longer and skinnier than a regular bread loaf tin).

Combine the flour and salt and sift into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with a mixer until smooth. Slowly add the sugar, beating constantly, until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. It’s important to take this step slowly, since incorporating the eggs too quickly or too much at a time will cause the sugar and butter combination to break. Once all the eggs have been added, stir in the vanilla. Continue beating as you gradually sprinkle the flour mixture and continue until the batter is smooth and well-blended.

Pour into prepared loaf tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto a rack to cool completely.

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Home cooked meals are a sign of love.

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