Pound Cake is an old fashioned cake with great versatility. There are many variations on it, but the authentic recipes do not call for any leavening; the ingredients have to be room temperature; and you start out with a cold oven. If you get the knack of making a home made pound cake, it is sure to be one of the cakes that you are truly proud of. All in all, it is quite simple......just follow each step to the tee. Sliced with berries or other fruit is my first thought for serving pound cake. Layered in a trifle, there is no better cake, in my opinion. I want to try making a Tirimisu with it.
Set the butter and eggs out on the counter to come to room temperature a couple of hours before assembling cake batter. Alternately, set out the night before. Room temperature is crucial to your success.
Prepare a loaf pan by greasing well with butter. Line the bottom with paper. Grease the paper with butter. Dust the entire pan with flour and tap out excess.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with the salt and zest for 2 minutes.
Add the sugar and beat 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well with each egg. Total mixing time should be about 2 minutes.
Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
Add the flour, all at once a mix for 2 minutes until well incorporated.
Add the fourth egg and beat into batter for about a half a minute.
Turn out batter to prepared pan and spread evenly with the back of a metal spoon. Tap on counter to ensure that there are no air pockets.
Place loaf in a COLD oven. Turn the heat to 300 degrees. Do not open the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Test with a pick after the 1 1/2 hours. If necessary bake another 10 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
Cool baked loaf on a rack in its pan for ten minutes. Release the cake from the pan. Remove the paper. Cool completely on rack before wrapping in a layer of waxed paper and an outer layer of foil.
Cake keeps well at room temp for several days or in the fridge for even longer. It also freezes well for later.