New variations revive old-fashioned pound cake

Pound cakes were so named because they were originally made with a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour, and it required both strength and patience to hand beat the batter so that the sugar was completely dissolved in the butter.

Real old-fashioned pound cake contained no milk. Earlier versions included currants, which the colonists often dried for winter use.

Not many people today could afford or would bother to make the original version, which required 10 to 12 eggs. This, in a way is unfortunate, as pound cake is in a class by itself, although we sometimes think of the sponge cake as its distant cousin.

It is just sweet enough; definitely moist and distinctly "eggy," and is as enjoyable eaten plain as with sherbet, ice cream, fruits and summer berries. It stores and freezes beautifully and slices without crumbling.

Cut a slice for yourself and put a scoop of ice cream and sundae sauce on top of it. Plain Poundcake (Slow Cooker Method) 1 package (16 ounce) pound cake mix 2/3 cup water 2 whole eggs

Turn the cake mix, water and eggs into a mixing bowl and beat by hand 300 times. (this gives it a texture as though it were made from scratch.) Pour the batter into a greased and floured 2 quart mold or spring form pan. Set the pan in the slow cooker and cover the top with a loosely fitting plate. Cover the top, but prop the lid open with a twist of foil or a toothpick to let excess steam escape. Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.Cool cake on rack 10 minutes before you turn it out of pan. Serves 8. Pineapple Pouncake (Slow Cooker Method)

Proceed as for plain pound cake, except use 2/3 cup pineapple juice instead of water, and in a small bowl combine 1 1/2 cups drained pineapple tidbits with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Toss tidbits well in the flour so that moisture from pineaplle is absorbed. Fold the tidbits into the batter and bake as indicated for Plain Poundcake.

Here are two poundcakes to make from scratch which are not nearly as costly as the ingredients called for in the original recipe. Thrifty Poundcake 3 cups sifted cake flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon mace 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter or margarine 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 eggs beaten 1/2 cup milk

Sift flour, baking powder, mace and salt together 3 times. Cream butter with sugar and vanilla until fluffy.

add eggs and beat thoroughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and milk alternately in small amounts, beating well after each addition. Pour into greased tube pan and bake in moderate oven 350 deg F about 1 hour. Raisin Honey Poundcake 1 cup raisins 3 cups sifted cake flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt %1 cup (1/2 pound) butter or margarine 1 cup honey 4 eggs, well beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon lemon extract 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Rinse raisins, drain, dry on a towel and slice or chop fine. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Cream buttern with honey until fluffy. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and beat well.

Rinse raisins, drain, dry on a towel and slice or chop fine. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Cream butter with honey until fluffy. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and beat well.

Add flavorings, raisins and nuts and mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake in slow even 300 deg F. about 2 hours. Natural Foods Whole Wheat Poundcake 1 cup butter 2 cups brown sugar or raw sugar 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 3 eggs lightly beaten 2 1/4 cups sifted whole wheat flour 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup yogurt

Preheat oven to 325 deg F. Cream the butter until light. gradually beat in the sugar. Add remaining ingredients; blend with electric mixer at low speed. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed, sraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter into well-buttered and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake 60 minutes or until done. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before transfering to rack. Blueberry Poundcake 1 package (16 ounce) pound cake mix 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained, or 1 can (15 ounce) blueberries, drained 1/3 cup chopped nuts 1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 cups confectioners' sugar Lemon juice

Prepare pound cake according to package directions. When batter is ready, gently fold in blueberries, nuts, raisins, and spices.

Pour mixture into 3 greased and floured 3 by 5 1/2 by 2-inch loaf pans. Bake according to package directions, allowing 10 minutes less baking time. Unmold and cool on rack. Mix confectioners' sugar with enough lemon juice to make glaze the consistency of heavy cream. Spoon glaze over loaves. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

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