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Keep it Simple Series: Pound Cake

Some of our past blogs have focused on outside-the-box baked goods, such as those made with exotic fruits. But sometimes it’s good to go back to the baking basics — items like chocolate cupcakes, blueberry muffins and, of course, pound cake.

For many of us, pound cake brings back sweet memories. It’s an irresistible favorite made by many a grandmother for her grandkids. And it has a rich history that goes back even further than your grandma’s time. In the first half of the 18th century, Europeans made cakes that called for four ingredients, each weighing a pound: flour, butter, eggs and sugar. The simplicity of the recipe made it easy to commit to memory, and the end result was a mammoth cake that could feed multiple families. As the cake evolved, bakers adjusted the proportions (though some maintained the original ratio of 1:1:1:1) and experimented with other ingredients. But the name stuck.

Today’s pound cake recipes open up a world of possibilities, the first of which is the pan. While Bundt molds are common, pound cake recipes work wonderfully well in our loaf pans, baking cups and tulip cups. From there, you can add sour cream, almond or lemon extract, or buttermilk to the original recipe. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar, or whip up some fresh cream. You can toast cake slices in the oven or even brown them on the grill. And then there are the aforementioned exotic fruits. Heat some fresh fruit — peaches work well  with sugar and spoon over just-warmed cake. Add a sprig of mint for garnish, and voila! Pound cake perfection.