Back in the June Cleaver days my mom used to make a pretty tasty homemade pound cake. But after that trollop Sara Lee came to town those pound cake baking days came to a screeching halt.
My mother’s homemade pound cake faded to a wispy memory. And I grew up thinking pound cake came frozen solid in disposable aluminum tins, tasting exactly like stale faux freezer-burned Passover sponge cake.
It wasn’t until years later when I came across an article with a recipe for an old-fashioned southern pound cake that I had what we refer to as a moment of duh.
I had no idea that pound cake was a literal thing – that the recipe involved a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Anything with a pound of butter gets my attention.
I got right to work. The buttery scent of baking cake evoked that long forgotten wispy memory of watching my mom make pound cake. The cake that came out of the oven that day was not perfect, but it was nothing like that slouchy frozen version. I was hooked.
It took a long time to recreate something similar to my mom’s cake and since she never committed any recipe to paper it was a challenge. This is a reconstruction of her recipe as much as possible. To be even more authentic, it includes a start in a cold oven because she rarely preheated it for anything. It actually isn’t a hard cake to make but the great crumb happens because of how it gets mixed together. Be sure to beat the butter/sugar mixture so it fluffs up and then do add those eggs one at a time and give each time to get fully mixed in. It takes a little time, so be patient.
The addition of limoncello and mace help give it a nice back-note flavor which makes the cake more than just sweet and yellow. A small bottle of Fiori di Sicilia from King Arthur is one of the best baking investments ever. An itty bitty bit goes a long way toward making cakes and pastries taste and smell like they came from a bakery. I’ve had my $8 bottle for three years and I still have plenty. Get some. It really is worth it. Once in a while King Arthur offers free shipping, too.
My best advice is to weigh those ingredients. That way you don’t add too much of anything. And while many GF flours will work just fine, I still find the superfine flours from Authentic Foods to work best because they have zero grit.
Plain slices of pound cake taste great alongside coffee or tea. Or top a slice with berries and a little whipped cream. Or go a little crazy and bake some in a muffin tin and scoop out the center and replace it with ice cream, top with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and berries and have yourself a pound cake sundae.
Kicked to the curb, Sara Lee was last seen fleeing the planet. If you look closely at the litter trail recently left on Mars by Curiosity - right next to the parachute you might find an empty aluminum cake tin or two. After all, it was a long 11 months and Rover had to eat, right?
(And our new cookbook, Gluten Free Canteen’s Book of Nosh is on sale now – many thanks for supporting us!)
|Grandma Goldie’s Pound Cake, Gluten Free||
- 460 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (4 sticks)
- 500 grams granulated sugar (2½ cups)
- 540 grams egg (9 extra-large whole eggs)
- zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
- 2 tablespoons limoncello
- 520 grams GF AP flour (260 grams superfine brown rice flour, 130 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon mace
- Generously butter 2 loaf pans (8×5) and set aside. Optional: butter one 10 inch bundt pan. Optional: butter one loaf pan plus a small (6) muffin tin. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment mix butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add lemon zest, vanilla, Fiori di Sicilia and limoncello. Mix well. In a small bowl mix flour with baking powder, salt and mace. Whisk to combine. Switch to paddle attachment and add flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer. Beat just until incorporated. Remove from stand and using a spatula, fold in any remaining dry ingredients making sure to scrape bottom of the bowl.
- Fill prepared baking pans until a bit more than half full. Rap pans on counter to settle batter and remove air bubbles. Place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 325 and bake until a toothpick comes out with dry crumbs. For loaf pans bake about 60 minutes checking after 45 minutes. For muffin pans, baked about 20-25 minutes. For one large bundt pan bake about 65-75 minutes checking at 50 minutes. When toothpicks come out of the cakes with dry crumbs or no crumbs, remove to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cake from pans and continue to cool on the racks.
- Serve plain or with berries and whipped cream. Or scoop out muffin cakes and replace with a scoop of ice cream and top with chocolate sauce, berries and whipped cream.