Jenni’s Best Pound Cake Recipe
By contributing food writer, Chef Jenni Field
I consider myself a bit of a pound cake snob. I grew up eating my mom’s chocolate pound cake, which is one of my favorite cakes ever. She also makes a mean almond pound cake as well as a really incredible cranberry-orange one.
I had no idea what the creaming method was, and when the recipe said to add the eggs, I did. All at once. I ended up with a very thin batter, when my mom’s batter was always thick and fluffy.
Since that first rather botched attempt, I’ve learned a lot about how to successfully put together a great cake batter, sometimes painfully. And while I enjoy an airy genoise or a moist butter cake, my favorite cake is still pound cake.
I love the tight crumb, the way is slices and toasts so beautifully, and the way it melts in my mouth.
A few months ago, a friend sent me a recipe for pound cake that she said was the best she’d ever had. Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I tweaked it some, based on things I’ve learned myself and on a few ideas from Shirley Corriher’s Bakewise.
And here it is Van Halen Pound Cake. Named by a DJ friend of mine after Van Halen’s song of the same name, I’ve made several variations of this cake, and it is always excellent. This is the basic recipe, which I call the Whipped Cream Van Halen Pound Cake.
Give it a try, and tell me what you think.
Van Halen Pound Cake Recipe
For the Pound Cake
- 13 oz cake flour I use Swan's Down
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 10 oz granulated sugar
- 10 oz brown sugar light or dark, free of lumps
- 12 oz butter 3 sticks at cool room temperature
- 5 large eggs
- 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream very softly whipped
For the Glaze
- 2 cups 10x powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- milk enough to make a thick but pourable glaze
For the Pound Cake
- Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- Thoroughly spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray.
- Sprinkle in about ½ cup all purpose flour and rotate the pan to coat the interior with the flour. Make sure to get the flour up the sides of the pan as well as up the central tube. Turn the pan upside down and firmly knock out the excess flour. Set aside.
- Whisk together the cake flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and soft, scraping bowl as necessary.
- Add the sugars and cream on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy 5-7 minutes. Scrape the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in--first on low, and then medium speed--for a total of about 20 seconds before adding the next. Scrape bowl thoroughly between each addition.
- Beat in the vanilla.
- On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in two additions. Mix just until the flour is moistened. The batter will be a little lumpy. That's okay.
- Using a whisk, whip the cream until thick. The whisk should leave tracks in the cream that will fill in in a couple of seconds. The cream should still flow it should not be whipped even to soft peaks. This takes about 2 minutes. If you'd rather, you can whip the cream with a hand mixer. Conversely, you can whip the cream in the stand mixer, transferring it to a bowl and holding it in the refrigerator before creaming the butter.
- Add the cream and mix it in on low speed for about 5 seconds. Stop the mixer, and finish mixing the batter by hand, folding rather than stirring, until the batter is free of lumps and the cream is gently but thoroughly mixed in.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. I usually shake the pan as well to evenly distribute the batter.
- Bake on the middle rack until the cake is well risen, golden brown and springs back when touched on the top. You can also test the cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick. If the skewer comes out clean, the cake is done. The cake will just be pulling away from the sides of the pan. This takes about an hour in my oven. I usually turn the pan after about 40 minutes, just to ensure even baking.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for half an hour.
- Turn out onto a rack and cool completely.
- Glaze when cool. Store at room temperature for two days or refrigerate. If refrigerating, make sure to let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
For the Glaze
- Place a piece of parchment or tin foil under the cooling rack holding the cake to catch any drips.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and salt together.
- Add the vanilla and about 2 tablespoons of dairy. Whisk thoroughly. Add more dairy, just a bit at a time, until you have a very thick but smooth paste. Test it by holding some up on the whisk. It should flow very slowly off the end of the whisk and lay on top of the rest of the glaze for a few seconds before sinking back in.
- Once you are pleased with the glaze consistency, spoon/pour over the cake and let slowly run down the sides. If your glaze is thick enough, it will stop running before it drips onto the paper under the rack. If the glaze is a little thin, scrape the excess glaze off the paper and pour back onto the cake.
- Let the glaze set for at least an hour.
I hope you enjoy this cake, RG please let me know how it turns out and if you have any questions.