Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Best Butter Poundcake Ever

A while back I was searching the web for a good basic poundcake recipe. I was on a mission to recreate an ice cream recipe and this would be the first step. When visiting my family in Dominican Republic as a child I always had to visit two places before I left. First, the chimichurri stands down at the malecon (boardwalk). Chimichurris in DR are these amazing sausage sandwiches piled high with more toppings than any burger has ever seen. Quintissential dominican street food and I don't even want to know that they put all sorts of odd pork parts in the sausage, ignorance is bliss and quite yummy too. My second stop was Helados Bon, an ice cream parlor that's been a mainstay in the country for decades. Aside from the summer of my pistachio milkshake obsession my go to flavor was always bizcocho, translated cake. Make no mistake, not cake batter or any of those overly sweetened cake flavors you encounter in many ice cream parlors today. Bizcocho is a rich vanilla custard utterly packed with crumbs of buttery dominican pound cake.

So back to my search, about two years ago my mom gave me this ice cream maker. My husband also included this wonderful book by Ben and Jerry. I just needed to find a reliable pound cake recipe that tasted like dominican cake. On a quick search one night I came across Paula Deen's recipe for her mama's poundcake. I decided to make it with all butter for the best flavor and in my haste to get the cake made I used one pound of butter, yes four sticks. If you read the recipe that's one stick more than in the original recipe. Yup, I out buttered Paula Deen! My happy mistake made for one amazing cake. One that just about didn't make it into the batch of ice cream. A dense but still tender buttery pound cake that just tastes better as it sits for a day or two.

Best Butter Poundcake
adaped from Paula Deen

4 sticks butter, softened but still cool
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract - I like a bigger vanilla flavor

First, dump the butter and sugar in your mixer's bowl and save the wrappers. With the wrappers, grease the cake pans. Yes, that's your tip for the day. You're welcome. This time I was splitting the recipe in half to make two smaller rectangular cakes but the whole recipe fits in a 9x13x2" pan. Also preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, cream the butter and sugar. Creaming is when you beat the butter and sugar until the sugar begins to dissolve into the butter and the mixture whips up to a pale yellow and fluffy frosting-like texture. Creaming takes several minutes but it definitely makes a difference in the cake's texture.

While the butter and sugar are creaming, mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside. Measure out the milk in a measuring cup and add the vanilla to pour together later on.

Add the eggs to the creamed butter mixture one at a time. Bonus tip for the day. Don't crack your eggs directly into the bowl. One day you'll crack it and you'll get a bum egg (don't ask me to describe a bad egg) or you'll have to fish out a piece of shell. Better to crack it into a small cup then plop it into the bowl.

After adding the last egg, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Now, add about 1/3 of the flour, while the mixer mixes on low speed. Add half the milk/vanilla. Then another 1/3 of the flour and continue alternating until you've added all the wet and dry ingredients, ending with the flour. Again, scrape down the bowl but don't overbeat. Just to enough to get the flour incorporated.

See how thick that cake batter is? It's not a pourable batter. If you've creamed your ingredients well, you'll have a batter that will need to be spread out and smoothed in the cake pan.

I'm not a batter person but usually right about now the living beings in my home are congregated in the kitchen waiting to lick the beater and spatula. Heck, they gather the minute the mixer starts.

Bake the cake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. I usually check it around the 1 to 1:15 mark. It's never done before the hour mark at minimum, this cake is pretty thick. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs but not wet batter. The cake will be very well browned.

Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes and then slice to enjoy. Like I mentioned earlier this cake is even better the next day. The outer browned crust is caramelized and as delicious as the tender heart of the cake. If you braved making the dulce de leche then you have a perfect excuse to slather some on this cake. Go ahead, I won't tell. When summer gets closer, and the baby gets less clingy I promise to share the ice cream recipe.


living_insanity said...

I just put a chocolate chip pound cake in the oven and I was worried I had messed up because the batter was so thick I had to use the spatula to smooth it into the pan. Thanks for the step by step instructions on your blog!

Marielle said...

Lovely, chocolate chip sounds divine right about now. It is scary how thick the batter is but I hope it turned out well for you.