Pound cake is a traditional English recipe consisting of equal portions (originally one pound) of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. The cake is still common in England where it is often contains dried and candied fruit. It is made in other parts of the world including France (where it is called quartre-quarts meaning four quarters) and Mexico (where it is called panqué and is often made with walnuts or raisins). The traditional recipe used no leaveners and was rich and dense.
This version is adapted from my mom’s recipe. It has half the fat of a traditional pound cake and uses orange juice, generous vanilla extract and citrus zest to give the cake flavor.
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup orange juice
1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
zest of a lemon or orange (optional)
raisins, dried cherries, candied fruit and/or sliced almonds (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a Bundt pan.
2. Using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, orange juice and zest and continue to mix.
3. Add flour and baking powder and mix well.
4. In the pan, distribute dried fruit and nuts around the ring (optional). Scoop batter into pan. It may not look like very much batter but it will rise significantly.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
6. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Gently shake the cake and invert onto a cake plate.
7. Serve on its own or with whipped cream, a dusting of powdered sugar or with butter and jam. Can also be toasted or egg-battered and pan fried.