The Wonderous Pound Cake

The Wonderous Pound CakeThis is a recipe that my mother got from a little old lady at a church bake sale one year. It’s so good that it instantly became the birthday cake in our household; Rick requests it every year.

10-inch tube pan or bundt cake pan
large and small rubber or silicone spatulas
electric mixer

Cake Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 & 3/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz sour cream
food coloring (optional)

Note: I like to use food coloring to make contrasting cake and frosting colors, for festive appeal. This is optional of course.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and one egg; mix. Scrape the bowl well. Continue to add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Now add half the flour mixture to this egg/butter mixture and fold together with a spatula, then mix. Add half the sour cream and mix; then add the other half of the flour mixture and a few drops of food coloring (if you are using any) and mix again. Finally, add the rest of the sour cream and mix until the cake batter is smooth.

Very Important: Butter the inside of your cake pan, and don’t be shy about the butter – use a lot and get every centimeter, including the center tube part. Next, put a handfull of flour into the buttered pan, and tilt the pan around slowly so that the flour can spread out and stick to the butter layer. Hold your pan over the sink or a trash can and tilt the pan in different directions to be sure you get all the surfaces coated. Gently tap out the excess flour.

Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake pan, making sure it is evenly distributed. Bake for 70 minutes, turning once to ensure even baking. To test the cake for doneness, insert a wooden skewer or chopstick into the cake and remove immediately. If the skewer comes out clean, your cake is done. If it comes out sticky, your cake needs a few more minutes in the oven. When the cake is done, set it out to cool for at least 30 minutes.

To release the cake from the pan, run a very thin chopstick or long thin knife between the cake and the pan. Make sure you go all the way to the bottom of the cake pan when you do this, and be gentle. Next, place a dinner plate upside down over the cake pan. Turn the cake pan and plate over. Your cake should release from the pan and fall onto the plate. If not, try a few gentle smacks on the bottom of the cake pan to release your cake. If this doesn’t work, turn the cake back over and let it cool a little longer. Being too rough can cause the cake to break and only part of the cake to fall out, so you have to have some patience and practice with this. If you buttered and floured your pan, the cake should pop out without too much trouble. The cake will come out bottom-side up. Place a second plate on top of the cake and flip it back over to get it right side up (this is safer than just lifting it with your hands, as it keeps the weight distributed).

OK, now that you have your cake you need some frosting!

Frosting Ingredients
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter, softened
8 oz. Philladelphia Cream Cheese at room temperature (yes, I am brand-specific on this one)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
16 oz. (one box) of 10X powdered sugar
food coloring (optional)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the cream cheese. Add the vanilla and start adding the sugar a little at a time. You want to whip a lot of air into the frosting to make it light and also increase the volume so that there is enough to cover the entire cake. Keep whipping and adding the sugar a little at a time. Add a few drops of food coloring if you like. After all of the sugar (the entire box) has been added, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the frosting for about half an hour. It needs to be semi-firm before you spread it on the cake.

A quick word about frosting the cake: there’s no right or wrong way, but the method I have found to be easiest is to put blobs of frosting on the top of the cake, then work the frosting around and down with a small spatula to get it to stick to the cake surface. Then it is a matter of smoothing or texturing. Work at a steady pace and don’t worry if your cake doesn’t look like something out of a magazine. It will taste great! Remember, the longer the frosting sits out the softer it will get, eventually melting off the cake. So work steadily and don’t fuss with it too much. Put the frosted cake back into the fridge and take it out only when you are ready to serve it. Enjoy!

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