Pound cake recipes plentiful, versatile

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 8, 2010

Over the years I’ve run several pound cake recipes. My favorite and just about the only cake my oldest child will eat is my late mother-in-law’s “cold oven pound cake.” Another favorite I have printed was a friend’s coconut pound cake.

These next two pound cakes are two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and then lemon. And they are both sublime.

The first, a dense chocolatey cake is perfect for a cup of coffee, a little dollop of whipped cream or just eating out of hand.

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Grown-up mud cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cup strong fresh coffee

1/4 cup coffee liqueur

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and set aside. Heat together slowly for 5 minutes the coffee and liqueur. Then add the chocolate and 2 cups butter, heat until melted. Add 2 cups sugar and whisk until smooth, let cool and transfer to a large bowl.

Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture 1/2 cup at a time beating each time till smooth. Then add the eggs and vanilla and beat for one minute. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and springs back to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then invert and remove from pan when completely cool. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

This cake is from the cake queen herself Rose Levy Beranbaum. I have everyone of her cookbooks, and I have never found a recipe of hers that didn’t turn out perfectly.

Lemon poppy seed pound cake

3 tablespoons milk

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 stick of butter plus 5 tablespoons (room temp)

Lemon syrup

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour Bundt pan. Lightly combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and slat. Add the lemon zest and poppy seeds. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Then add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth down the surface with a spatula. Bake covering the pan loosely with buttered aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent over browning, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This should take about 35 to 50 minutes depending on your oven.

When the cake is almost done prepare the lemon syrup. In a small pan over medium heat, stir the sugar and lemon juice together until the sugar has dissolved. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack and poke the top of the cake all over with a wooden skewer and brush it with half of the syrup. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Spray a wire rack with nonstick spray and set over a cookie sheet.

Loosen the sides of the cake with a spatula and invert it onto the wire rack. Poke the bottom of the cake with the wooden skewer and brush it with some of the syrup remaining syrup and reinvert the cake on the rack. Brush the sides and top with the remaining syrup and allow to the cake to cool completely.

Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and let set for 24 hours before serving. At room temperature this cake will remain fresh for 3 days or 6 days in the refrigerator.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezsdemocrat.com