Martha's Basic Pound Cake

My friend Christopher has created a gallery on his Facebook page titled "From My COVID Kitchen." In it, he uploads photos of the culinary creations that have kept him sane and satiated during this unprecedented time of quarantine. Christopher's wry title aside, I think it really does us good to try new things during this difficult period - not only for distraction but also to learn something. I, too, have been trying my hand at new recipes - most of them Martha's. Many of these recipes have been on my 'bake-one-day' list for far too long. Now that I have the time, I figured I should probably tackle some of them.
While there may not be anything that intriguing about pound cake, to me it's one of those quiet comfort foods that inspire a sense of nostalgia, a simple pleasure you can enjoy with a cup of tea; it hits the mark perfectly, given our circumstances. Its delicate flavour is not too sweet or indulgent and it's as good plain as it is served with berries and whipped cream. As I was flipping through the pages of Martha's Cakes book, I kept coming back to the golden allure of this simple, basic cake: a pleasure to make, a pleasure to eat.
One of the things I most like about Martha Stewart's recipes is the clarity of the instruction. The recipes may at times look a bit wordy on the page but those words are worth their weight. Oftentimes, the text in the instructions reveals helpful tips. In this recipe for pound cake, for example, the suggestion of beating the sugar and butter for a solid 8 minutes on high speed resulted in a smoother, more voluminous batter. The suggestion that the eggs be lightly beaten before being added to the batter lent an additional silken quality to its texture. Since this was only my second time making a pound cake, I found these hints very helpful.

The recipe makes two loaves and both came out beautifully. They cook at a low-ish temperature (325 degrees) for just over an hour, resulting in the perfect golden hue. I was very happy with how these turned out. I've included the recipe below.
The batter bakes beautifully, resulting in moist slices of cake that are tender and thick but not dense.
Nutella is not my preferred pound-cake accompaniment, but when I saw that Martha had used it to dress up a slice on Instagram I decided I needed to give it a try too. It's not bad! I personally prefer to drizzle a little bit of maple syrup over it or simply have it plain with a cup of tea, but any excuse to eat Nutella is fine by me.

I hope you try this cake. It's simple enough for a novice baker.

(A pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of eggs...)


2 cups (one pound or four sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 pound (about three cups) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 1/4 cups (one pound) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 large eggs (one pound), room temperature, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 325. Generously butter two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to medium; beat in vanilla. Add eggs in four batches, beating thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in four batches, beating until just incorporated.

3. Divide batter between two prepared loaf pans. Tap pans on counter to reduce air pockets; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks to cool completely.


Melsews said...

Typo correction: Step 3 in the pound cake recipe. In the fourth sentence of this paragraph it says the cake should cook for 30 minutes. The word cook should be cool.


Thank you! Corrected!