In the three years of writing this column, I've discovered that there are many pound cake fans out there! And that's not surprising: of all the southern recipes that exist, pound cakes rank at the top of charts. There are as many recipes for pound cakes as there are bakers that make them. This is one of those desserts that southern bakers take the most pride in baking. In fact, many bakers stake their baking reputations on turning out the very best pound cake possible.
While pound cakes are very popular, they tend to be rather temperamental. I once heard a home economist once state that there are about as many failures with pound cakes than any other baked product, which I would have to say is true. If you enjoy pound cakes, but have never had very good success in making them, I'd like to pass along one that has always proven successful and has an added flavor bonus....cream cheese! This "Cream Cheese Pound Cake" is very flavorful and made extra-rich because of the addition of cream cheese.
This pound cake also keeps very well and can be served plain or topped with "Fresh Strawberry Sauce", for which I'm also including the recipe. It's great with or without the topping. It also has fresh lemon zest, which is the colored peel of the lemon, to give it additional flavor. It also calls for butter, which in my opinion is an absolute necessity for the most flavorful pound cake.
Here's a few guidelines in making a successful pound cake: first, have all ingredients at room temperature. I remove the butter, eggs and cream cheese from the refrigerator at least two hours before making the cake. Second, when creaming the butter, cream cheese and sugar, cream it very thoroughly. When adding the eggs, beat completely after adding each egg before adding the next one. At this point, you can't overbeat the batter. Third, once you start adding the flour to the creamed mixture, use care to beat only enough to incorporate the flour into the creamed mixture. Overmixing at this point can cause tunnels to show up in the finished cake's texture and even increase the risk of the cake falling while baking. Use the low speed of the electric mixer when adding the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix and you'll have a more successful cake.
In the event you'd rather have cookies instead of a cake, I gave a recipe last year for "Pound Cake Cookies" that remind you a lot of a good pound cake. Here's the link to the recipe if you don't already have it:
If you've never had good luck with pound cakes, this creamy, rich recipe may encourage you to make them more often!
CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE
- 3 Sticks Butter, softened (I prefer unsalted butter)
- 1 (8 oz.) Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
- 3 C. Sugar
- 6 Large Eggs
- 2 Tsp. Grated Lemon Zest (the colored part of the lemon peel)
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 3 C. All-Purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees; grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan and set aside; in a large bowl with electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until well blended; gradually add the sugar and cream until fluffy; add the eggs, one at a time, beating completely as they are added; add the vanilla extract; gradually add the flour, beating just enough to blend; turn mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done in the center; remove from oven and let cool in the pan for about ten minutes; turn out onto a cake platter or plate and let cool completely; serve plain or topped with "Fresh Strawberry Sauce".
FRESH STRAWBERRY SAUCE
- 6 Tbls. Cold Water
- 2 Tbls. Lemon Juice
- 1/4 C. Sugar
- 2 Tbls. Cornstarch
- 1 Tsp. Lemon Zest
- 2 C. Sliced, Fresh Strawberries
Combine water, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest in a heavy 2-quart saucepan; stir in strawberries; cook and stir over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble; continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 additional minutes; remove from heat and cool. Makes about 2-1/2 cups.