You can't make anything better than a pound cake for a classic after-dinner treat. I read a headline on the Huffington Post's Food page that refers to people who don't like cake, but it is hard for me to believe that there are such people.
However, it's quite possible that you might love cake but hate to fuss over it, especially when it comes to decorating. Even spreading frosting at the last minute can be stressful, and in that case a pound cake will probably do it for you. Pound cakes typically form a layer across the top that seems almost like a frosting, although it isn't. The rich batter simply forms a certain kind of crust that concentrates the butter and sugar through evaporation. If you have never noticed it before, well, now's the time to make one.
A pound cake is also a basic component of dessert, in that you can build on it with toppings like fruit, chocolate, caramel, ice cream (many flavors), whipped cream and anything else that appeals to you. Valentine's Day sprinkles would be just fine even scattered just on the plate next to the cake, and of course they will stick nicely to a sauce.
Pound cakes do not have to be baked in tube pans, contrary to the photo images you usually see of them. When I make them I use a loaf pan for easy slicing, and I see pound-cake loaves all the time at the store. The only thing I would tell you about that is that the typical recipe makes quite a bit of batter and you may end up making two loaves, which is fine--just freeze the other one.
You can get fabulous tube pans, though, either at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Tucson or at other department stores. Look for heavy silicone-coated metal, not eggshell-thin but weighty enough so that you wonder if it's worth the (approximately) $30.00 that it will cost. But believe me on that--I got one dramatic spiral tube pan, used it and gave away all the other cheap tube pans I had.
SWEETHEART POUND CAKE
3 cups all-purpose organic flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups organic unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups organic blonde sugar
1/2 cup organic milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 large organic eggs at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and set them aside.
Beat together the butter and sugar in another mixing bowl until they are fluffy. Add the milk and extracts and mix for 1 minute.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, until the mixture is very light. Lower the mixer speed to its lowest and fold in the dry ingredients in three stages.
Place the batter into loaf pans or a tube pan that has been well lubricated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake the cake or cakes for 45 minutes and check to see if they are done. The time it takes to bake the cake will vary with the amount of batter and the size of the baking pan, with a single large tube pan taking longer and loaf pan(s) needing less time.
About the extract flavorings: there are several options. Pound cakes are often flavored with lemon or orange extract as well as vanilla/almond. You could also go with the Princess bakery emulsion that imparts a delicate flavor to cakes and cookies (don't use it with chocolate recipes, though) that you can get from the King Arthur Flour Company online.
This product is not a leavening or dough enhancer; it is a flavoring and if you like the bakery-confectionery smell that you often encounter when you open the door of a cakery, you might find this same ambience in the Princess Cake and Cookie Bakery Emulsion will bring it right into your kitchen. And just so you know, the reason I don't use it with something like brownies or chocolate cake is only because it tends to neutralize the rich flavor of chocolate that we associate with home-baked goods. You are better off adding a Tablespoon of freeze-dried coffee or espresso crystals to a chocolate recipe (which I always do ever since I heard of it).
For more info: if you want just one tube pan to use forever, for everything, I recommend Nordic Ware's Classic Bundt Pan, which is available everywhere that Nordic Ware is sold. It's probably at Target in Tucson. And once you have seen its distinctive silvery color and held it in your hands to get the feel of its heft, you'll recognize this material in other shapes and be able to pick out a good cake pan from there.