Oh, how we love pound cake. It’s a classic dessert even a novice baker can make. Pound cake can be a simple snack with a cup of coffee or transformed into a fancier treat. The basic ingredients are butter, flour, sugar, and eggs, but there are many variations of them. Each is as tasty as the next. Since the cake doesn’t weigh a pound, why are they called a pound cake?
Turns out, the original pound cake didn’t weigh a pound… it weighted FOUR pounds!
Pound cake was created in the early 1700s in Britain. The recipe was copied and featured in the first American cookbook American Cookery by Amelia Simmons (published in 1796!).
It read, “One pound sugar, one pound butter, one pound flour, one pound or ten eggs, rose water one gill, spices to your taste; watch it well, it will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes.”
While the baked cake was over a pound, each of the ingredients weighed a pound. The name stuck.
No one wants to make (or eat) a four pound cake, so over the years the core ingredients are the same, but the quantities have changed. The ratio of ingredients is still 1:1:1:1. Leavening agents, like baking powder or baking soda, have been added to produce a lighter cake.
Across the world, different countries have their take on this classic dessert. In the United States, some of the butter is substituted with sour cream or cream cheese to add a slight tang to the cake. In regions of the Caribbean, they add rum. In France, some beaten egg whites instead of whole yolks are incorporated for a lighter batter. If you have a pound cake in Mexico, it might have walnuts or raisins. A Venezuelan/Columbian style drenches a pound cake in wine.
Pound cakes are a blank canvas. Follow the ratio of ingredients, add extracts, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips – whatever your taste buds desire – to create a magnificent dessert. If you bake to make a pound cake, try one of these Blue Ribbon pound cake recipes