|Copyright, Doug Kapustin Photography, 2013|
As I mentioned in the previous post, finding the perfect pound cake has been a daunting task. I suppose it’s important to agree that, to be fair, the perfect pound cake should be a plain one. That isn’t to say that chocolate pound cake isn’t a welcome addition to the dessert menu, but some might argue that making almost anything chocolate is an automatic win. So, I’ve been looking for an essentially plain base for a really good pound cake, one that maintains its moisture while being dense, and one that can be used for any range of service-- from the foundation of strawberry shortcake to simply sliced and ready-to-eat in one’s lunch bag. I recently tried a pound cake recipe from the magazine The Best of America’s Test Kitchen (Best Recipes and Reviews 2013). Their cream cheese pound cake was very, very close to being nearly perfect.
As much as I appreciate decadence, there is something extremely comforting about a well-balanced slice of plain pound cake. The recipe below will hopefully give you the same sense of comfort and appreciation it gave me. Kudos to the cooks who tweaked this one for our enjoyment!
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
¼ cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan. Combine flour and salt in bowl. Whisk eggs and yolks, milk, and vanilla together in separate bowl.
Using mixer with paddle attachment, beat sugar, butter, and cream cheese on medium high speed until fluffy (~3 min.). Reduce speed to low and slowly add egg mixture until incorporated. Add flour in 3 additions, scraping down bowl as needed.
Put batter in prepared Bundt pan and tap on counter to release air bubbles. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, roughly 1 hour 20 minutes to 1½ hours, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely for about 2 hours. Serve.
(*Recipe courtesy of The Best of America’s Test Kitchen, Best Recipes and Reviews 2013, page 87; AmericasTestKitchen.com)