1teaspoonkosher saltjust a pinch less if you use table salt
13ozcake floursifted (3 cups)
¼cupheavy creamvery softly whipped (it should be thick but not hold peaks)
Set an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Thoroughly spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with pan spray. Add about ½ cup of flour and knock it around in the pan until the whole inside of the pan is coated with the flour. Turn pan upside down and firmly tap out the excess flour.
If using the cream, place a metal or glass bowl and a whisk in the freezer. You'll come back to it later.
In a bowl, whisk flour and baking powder together very well.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and creamy
Add the salt and vanilla and blend in.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, until it is all incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat well for a minute or two until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape bowl as necessary.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium-low speed until each egg is just incorporated before adding the next. Scrape bowl between each addition.
With the mixer off, spoon in about half of the flour. Mix on low until barely incorporated. If you can still see some dry flour, don't worry about it.
Alternate adding half of the milk, half the remaining flour mixture, the rest of the milk and the rest of the dry ingredients, barely mixing between each addition.
Pour the ¼ cup heavy or whipping cream, if using, into the cold bowl. Whisk vigorously until the cream thickens to the consistency of a loose pudding. The cream will form low mounds when dropped back into the bowl but will not form peaks. This should only take a minute or two, as you're whipping such a small amount of cream.
Scrape the cream into the mixer bowl and, with a large spatula, fold in the cream and incorporate all the dry ingredients gently but thoroughly.
Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake until deep golden brown, well risen and cracked in the center. The sides will just start pulling away from the pan and a tester inserted into the cake halfway between the outer side and the inner tube will come out clean - an hour to one hour and 15 minutes.
Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and cool completely, about 2 hours.
To garnish, either sieve some powdered sugar evenly over the top of the cake or make a simple glaze with powdered sugar, a little milk and a splash of vanilla.
This is very good at room temperature with a cup of tea. To really put it over the top, toast a slice in the toaster oven and serve with a pat of butter.