So I tried making pound cake again, this time with success! I even brought it in to the Search Engine that Starts With a G to get comments from my coworkers, and none of them died (that I know of) and some of them even liked it (as reported on an anonymous form)! Even more of a success!
Here’s what I did differently.
First, I changed the recipe. This time, I adapted one from “I’m Just Here for More Food” by Alton Brown, a chef well known for his excellent, scientifically-based cooking. After cross-referencing against the Joy of Cooking, I felt safe leaving out the vanilla on the suspicion that last time’s funny flavor wasn’t just the Splenda but my fairly old vanilla flavoring (which I found was labeled “bourbon vanilla” which made me even more suspicious.) This left the recipe:
- Three cups of allpurpose flour
- Three large eggs
- Two cups of sugar
- One cup of buttermilk
- One half pound of butter
- One half teaspoon of salt
- One half teaspoon of baking powder
Preparation was much easier this time with a $25 handheld motorized mixer from Fry’s
Electronics. I used a few tricks this time:
- Allow butter to warm to room temperature by itself – no heating in the microwave
- Mix the butter and sugar and blend until fluffy with no sugar grains visible in the mix
- Beat egg yolks and whites together and mix with butter and sugar blend in 3 batches
- Sift all the dry goods (salt, baking powder, flour) together 3 times
- Alternate adding the dry goods and buttermilk to the mix
Also, I was more careful flouring the pan to prevent sticking. As before, the oven was preheated to 325, baking was 1 hour, and the cake was allowed to sit a bit before being taken out of the pan.
Results: Yum. The texture was light and flaky, on the edge of being too flaky. The flavor was good, though slightly bland – it could have used more vanilla. The crust had a good texture, but it could have been a bit darker.
This was a good cake, but I got even better feedback from my coworkers and from myself. The cake needed vanilla, a slightly better mixing, and a slightly better cooling procedure. Nevertheless, the pound cake served its desired function:
I will follow up soon with the details on how I tweaked the recipe until it was “perfect”.