Baking – like reading and blogging – is an activity I enjoy immensely, and one of my goals for the year is to bake my way through The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, an infamous (U.S.) dessert recipe book and baking guide. I thought it would be fun to incorporate my love for baking into my blog, so the idea for Reviewing The Cake Bible was born. The following review, as the title of this post indicates, is for the Perfect Pound Cake recipe.
For those of you unfamiliar with the pound cake, it’s quite a simple yet timeless dessert. Baked in either a loaf pan or [if you’re feeling fancy] a Bundt pan, its name tells you exactly how much of each ingredient you need. In this way, it’s one of the most easily memorable recipes: one pound of flour, of butter, of sugar, of eggs (or at least an equal weight of each ingredient).
For her Cake Bible recipe, however, Rose Levy Beranbaum strays from this traditional recipe, because after many trials and tests she “soon discovered that the traditional balance of ingredients benefits from a few minor alterations.” In addition to equal parts [cake] flour, sugar, and eggs, she includes a little milk for more moisture, extra butter for added flavor and “that ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ quality,” and some baking powder to get the cake to rise slightly, which opens up the texture for a lighter consistency. Minor amounts of salt and vanilla extract are also added for flavor.
I have baked this pound cake before, but this time I reached for my Bundt pan because although I wasn’t planning on sprinkling powdered sugar over the top after baking as is suggested, I still wanted the cake to look a little decorative. As Rose Levy Beranbaum says in the book, this recipe makes a slightly smaller cake than is typically expected for a pound cake. This was intentional, as she explains that the larger this cake gets, the more it loses the light texture. For dense cake lovers, she offers ingredient alterations so that the size will be larger once baked.
Though for me, the small size is one of the reasons I love making this cake. It travels easily, it doesn’t need to be kept cool/it’s not finicky when it comes to room or outdoor temperatures, and it can be fully enjoyed plain (without frosting or the suggested powdered sugar dusting). It’s also the perfect cake for brunch or breakfast because, especially when baked in a loaf pan, it’s basically bread. That’s my hot tip for the day.
There are also two pound cake variations included at the end of the recipe. One for Deluxe Double-Vanilla Pound Cake which is made with both vanilla extract and vanilla beans, and Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake, which the author admits is perhaps her “favorite way to eat a pound cake!” I have not attempted either of these [yet?], because vanilla beans are not something I have or keep on hand, and lemon poppy seed is not one of my favorite flavor combinations. But if ever an occasion arises for either variation, I feel confident that the two recipes in The Cake Bible will not let me down.
The Perfect Pound Cake is a dessert I will make again and again. Although I did not dust it with powdered sugar this time around, I am not against doing so. This cake is also delicious with whipped cream, and quite indulgent with Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Mascarpone Frosting and Filling.