Food & Drink

This Cake By the Pound recipe is hands down delicious

Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette

A vanilla pound cake with homemade caramel glaze.
Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette A vanilla pound cake with homemade caramel glaze.
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I absolutely LOVE pound cake. It is my all-time favorite dessert. Ever since I was big enough to sit at my grandmother’s table, I’ve been fascinated by the process of how butter, flour, sugar and eggs (and few more ingredients) could come together so harmoniously to create this cake that is so good, you can eat it plain.

My version is slightly different from traditional recipes. That’s why I’ve dubbed it “Cake By the Pound.” It forms a slight crust on the top that is sweet, adding texture and shine to your cupcakes and cakes baked in flat cake pans. (Cooking it in more decorative pans, particularly Bunt pans, seems to retain more moisture so the crust doesn’t form on the top unless it is overcooked.) This “crust” isn’t hard, but it is sweet and buttery — kind of like the edges of cakes that most people cut off before frosting them. (I love the edges.)

My version of this cake is moist and fluffy on the inside, yet still dense like a traditional pound cake. It has tons of flavor even though you’re not using a bunch of different ingredients. The traditional version is a bit dry in texture because the only “wet” ingredients are the eggs. Adding buttermilk and heavy whipping cream — you can use milk or a non-dairy to substitute for one or both — gives it moisture.

There are many different ingredients that you can add to make this cake even more delicious.

If you like citrus, you can add lemon juice or orange extract. If you want to add chocolate chips, no problem. If you like cream cheese pound cake, you can create the same flavors with Cake By the Pound.

Don’t be afraid to venture out with flavors or combinations of flavors.

With summer here, this is the perfect dessert to make for friends, family and bake sales. You can top your cake with whipped cream and fresh berries, cream cheese or one of my favorites — caramel glaze (see recipe.)

Sliced lemons or fresh peaches also are pretty and delicious toppings to enhance your cake’s appearance and flavor.

As with most of my recipes, this one is easy and extremely versatile.

You can make a crumb cake version, strawberry shortcake version or even a cinnamon roll version, which is a great excuse to have cake for breakfast, pairing nicely with a good cup of hot coffee on a Saturday morning or for Sunday brunch.

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For the holidays, you could make a pumpkin spice version with a homemade cream cheese glaze for Thanksgiving or an eggnog version with a white chocolate whipped cream frosting and chopped peppermint for Christmas.

The possibilities are almost endless, so don’t be afraid to explore non-traditional ingredient additions.

Cake is a staple when family and friends gather to celebrate life, holidays, birthdays and anniversaries.

No matter the season or occasion, cake is highly encouraged in some version.

I’m sure after all this talk about cake, you are ready to roll those sleeves up, wash your hands and get started baking your very own version of Cake By the Pound. So as they say, “Let them eat cake.”

• Michelle Madden of Cedar Rapids has a catering business called Tastefully Made Creations.

Cake By The Pound

• 3 sticks of real cream butter (salted) at room temperature

• 3 eggs at room temperature

• 2½ cups sugar

• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

• ½ teaspoon salt

• 3 cups all purpose flour

• 2 ounces buttermilk

• 2 ounces heavy whipping cream

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, vanilla extract and sugar until fluffy.

In separate medium bowl, sift flour and salt.

Sift dry ingredients in with fluffed butter mixture one cup at a time as you alternate dry ingredients with wet ingredients in this order: 1 cup dry ingredients then buttermilk and mix — just enough to incorporate ingredients. Do not overmix. Next add 1 egg plus heavy whipping cream and repeat.

Grease and flour your pans. Heat oven to 350 degrees. No need to preheat.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Once done, allow to cool on stovetop for about 10 minutes and then remove from pan and place on serving dish to cool at least 20 minutes or more.

Caramel Glaze

• 1 stick of butter

• 1 cup of sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 to 4 ounces of heavy whipping cream (amount depends on your desired thickness). Room temperature is best.

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In a medium sauce pot, melt butter, vanilla and sugar on medium heat until mixture turns a light brown, stirring with a fork or whisk constantly to control caramelizing.

When desired color has been reached, remove pot from heat and whisk a little cream (about a tablespoon) into mixture. Then whisk in remaining cream in small increments until desired consistency is reached.

Spoon or pour caramel glaze over cooled cake and serve.

Source: Michelle Madden

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