More Recipes from the Basket Files: Pound Cake 3 Ways

As many of you know, my husband and I made the trip to Illinois and to Iowa a few weeks ago and stayed with his Aunt Barb and Uncle Joe.  I took a basket of goodies with me and this was one of those recipe.

I LOVE pound cake. It’s hard not to love a cake that was originally made with one pound each of butter, sugar, flour and eggs.  It was usually flavored with vanilla or lemon.  Many variations have evolved throughout the years, with additions such as leavening(baking powder, baking soda) and flavorings such as coconut, nuts, and dried fruit.  With reduced cholesterol and calories in mind, there are now pound cakes made with vegetable oil as well as nonfat versions.  Pretty good for something that used a pound of butter and a pound of eggs huh?

This recipe is simple and basic, and lends itself to any flavoring you can think of.  For Joe’s aunt, I split the batch into three and flavored each one differently. One I left plain, the second I added about 1 1/2 cups of blueberries, and the third I added about 1 cup of chocolate chips and about 3/4 cup of toasted chopped pecans.  Each one baked up beautifully, and light, and each one smelled delicious.  Try your favorite flavors!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1-8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Any add-ins your desire: blueberries, chocolate chips, nuts, lemon zest, orange zest, dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour a 10 inch bundt pan(or three regular loaf pans). In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, in three additions, beating well after each addition. Continue beating on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 – 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes(or about 45 minutes for loaf pans). Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely. (The cake is cooled in the pan first for about 20 minutes so the cake has time to set. The cake may collapse if you try to remove it from the pan too soon.) This cake will keep several days at room temperature and one week when refrigerated. Can also be frozen. Serves 10 – 12 people. **I wrapped mine in a freezer bag, then wrapped the whole thing in waxed paper and tied a ribboon around it to put in the basket.

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