This is my 30th recipe for the site! To celebrate, I decided to make a simple Southern classic and add cream cheese buttercream frosting. This is a pound cake that is a little lighter than the average pound cake, so it goes perfectly with a sweet slightly heavy frosting.
The name pound cake comes from the ingredients that were first used to make it. Initially, it contained a pound of flour, sugar, eggs, and sugar. Although, pound cakes can also be cakes with a 1:1:1:1 ratio of the ingredients just listed.
I noticed when making this recipe that there was not very much gluten formation. This observation came about as I was washing the bowl that held the batter. In recipes like cinnamon rolls or some cookie doughs, it takes quite a bit of effort to properly clean the bowl. However, with this recipe the batter was rinsed right out of the bowl.
The cause of this lack of gluten formation comes from the creaming method and the large amount of butter. Butter coats the flour particles disrupting the formation of gluten when water is introduced to the mix. The creaming method incorporates the flour into the butter first, which allows all of the flour to get coated in the fat from butter. When the liquid ingredients are introduced, gluten formation is held at bay by the dominant presence of the butter. Thus very little gluten is formed in a pound cake. This also explains the relative denseness of pound cake when compared to other cakes.
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
3 cups of AP flour
2 cups of sugar
4 large eggs, beaten and room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ tsp of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole buttermilk, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Remove the buttermilk and the butter from the refrigerator to get to room temp.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt
- Cream the butter and the sugar together, until the butter is fluffy
- While mixing, add the eggs to the creamed butter
- Mix in the vanilla extract
- Alternate mixing 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the buttermilk into the creamed butter mixture, until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Start with the dry ingredients and end with the wet ingredients for a smooth batter and minimal gluten formation.
- Pour the batter into a Bundt pan or a 9 in by 3in deep cake pan.
- Bake for about 1 hour, until golden brown or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Butter Cream
8 oz butter (softened)
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract
- While the cake is cooling, cream the butter and cream cheese together. Once combined, mix in the powdered sugar in 1 cup intervals. Then mix in the vanilla extract.
- When the cake is cool and easy to work with, add the frosting.