I find it that sometimes, mum has this incessant obsession over trying on new dishes as I see them in recipe books or magazines or online or on TV. The books that we've recently borrowed from the library includes Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours and Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, of which I've flagged the pages that mum wants to try as cooking projects, and that's not including the more than a dozen websites I've bookmarked in the PC. These obsession sometimes get the better of me, that mum tries do away with little details hoping to get away with it. Like this Perfection Pound Cake adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my Home to Yours. Mum actually burned the bottom. Wait, not burned. Charred! See?!
But not to discount it isn't in any way, a perfect pound cake because it is! Because even though the bottom is black as tar, the pound cake was itself... perfection! Buttery and sweet, just like a pound cake would. Mum even managed to create that glorious cracked top which produced that slight crisp topping.
This Perfection Pound Cake is adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my Home to Yours
2 c all-purpose flour or 2 1/4 cups cake flour (mum used cake flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar (we used caster sugar)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C). Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan or an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (This, mum did not do. Which is the only obvious reason why the bottom of our pound cake burned).
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each egg goes in. As you're working, scrape down the bowl and beater often.
Mix in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated - don't over mix. In fact, you might want to fold in the last of the flour, or even all of it, by hand with a rubber spatula.
Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.
Put the cake into the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. If it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. If you're using a 9x5 pan, you'll need to bake the cake for 70-75 minutes; the smaller pan needs about 90 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the centre comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 30 minutes.
Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.
Even though mum burned the bottom, the pound cake turned out excellent. Indeed, with that fresh-from-the-farm flavour of butter and eggs, as Dorie mentioned in the book, amongst other pointers on making this perfection pound cake. All in all, mum did not entirely waste that block of Lurpak butter after all.
I had good memories of making pound cake with your Lolo and Lola when we were little. And I can vividly smell and taste the buttery taste of our Blue Bonnet pound cake baked in our little oven in our little bungalow house in Kalaklan Street way back when. Those were the days when butter just came in as real good butter. No less-fat-less-salt-light varieties.
This kept well wrapped in baking paper on the kitchen counter (it is winter after all), and dad had a grand time eating his slice for afternoon tea for a week. But then, dad is easy to please. Who cares if the bottom's burned!? It still tastes like pound cake!