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Old 05-17-2010, 11:04 AM   #1
Senior Cook
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: japan
Posts: 462
Pound & fruitcake

just posted this as a response in the general cooking questions section, but thought i should post the recipe here, too.

first, they're called "pound" cakes for a reason which will be obvious. similarly, in french the name translates to mean "four fourths". here's the recipe. it'll make two 2-pound cakes.

1 pound butter
1 pound sugar
1 pound eggs (probably 8)
1 pound flour
1 teaspoon or so of vanilla
1 or 2 shots of brandy (optional but recommended)

there are a number of ways to go about putting it together, but i'll start with the tradional approach for a denser pound cake, and later explain a couple of ways to make it lighter.

here's what to do:
1. prep your pans. butter and flouring your pans will do it. but if you want to go the whole 9 yards, grease a couple of loaf pans, cut out and insert wax paper to fit, and then butter and flour the waxed paper.

2. sift the flour 3 times. (and in case you happen to use unsalted butter, sift in maybe 1/2 teaspoon of salt)

3. using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until it is soft and well aerated. your butter should be right out of the fridge. if it's room temperature and so soft it'll barely hold its shape, it won't hold much air. (picture trying to beat salad oil until it's "fluffy")

4. one at a time, add the eggs and completely beat them in before adding the next.

5. beat in the vanilla and brandy.

6. preheat your oven to 350F

7. sift about 1/4 of the flour onto the mixture and GENTLY FOLD it in. do not just stir or beat it in. if you're not too sure how to fold it in, google it or watch a couple of cake demo's on youtube (try searching for julia childs videos or something) sift and fold in the remaining flour a quarter at a time.

8. fill your pans, pop them into the oven and bake. place them about in the center of your oven or slightly below. don't place them at the very top of the oven. depending on the size of the pans you use and how deeply they are filled, it could take anywhere from about 50 minutes to up to 75 minutes. i noticed in your picture that you had used a bundt pan, and these may take a little less time. don't quote me on that though. just keep a weather eye open. at 50 minutes, take a very quick peek to make sue they aren't burning. once you notice that the centers have peaked, give them another 5 - 10 minutes. insert a toothpick, and if it comes out clean, the cakes are done. do all this checking as quickly as possible, so that if the cakes are not quite done, the oven remains hot and you can give them another 5 or 10 minutes.

by the way, another school of thought would bake these off at about 300F for maybe 1 1/2 hours or so.

9. when done, take the cakes out of the oven and cool in the pans for 10 - 15 minutes. then take them out of the pans and finish cooling on wire racks.

ok. now for the variations.

the old time way to make a slightly fluffier would be to separate your eggs. use the yolks as above. when it's time to add the flour, beat the egg whites to a soft peak. if you beat them too stiffly, the individual bubbles will pop and lose more air. fold in 2 quarter of the flour as per above. then fold in half the whites, the rest of the flour, and finally the last of whites.

the other way to make a lighter cake would be to sift in between 1 and 2 teaspoons of baking powder with the flour.

for a fruitcake, you can mix in up to an equal amount ( 4 pounds) of dried fruits and nuts. typical would be about 3/4 fruit and 1\4 nuts. i like using candied lemon and orange peel, dried cranberries, raisins and pecans, but anything that floats your boat if fine.

finally, you can loosely cover the mouth of a bottle of brandy with your thumb and some to all six sides of the cakes. wrap well and store for at least a few weeks. fruit cakes can last for years if stored in a cool and dry place. i currently have a couple that i made about 1 1/2 years ago, as well as 4 i recently made for the next holiday season.

hope this helps and best of luck on your quest

let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
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