22 July 2012

Pound Cakes Galore

Pardon for my tardiness in blogging. Simply couldn't muster the energy to edit photos or write anything. Since our return from Phuket last month, have been managing dear son's crankiness, made worst by him falling sick for almost 2 weeks. Thereafter, my turn to catch the flu bug. Have been sick for more than a week now, feeling lethargic and sleepy all the time :(

Anyways, this is a long-overdue post about pound cakes. I baked these like months ago! I think I mentioned before that I'm not a fan of pound cakes as I prefer cakes that are tender and fluffy like chiffon. In my impression, pound cakes are always dry and dense and had to be washed down the throat with lots of liquid. But having seen a lot of bloggers talked about pound cakes like Mrs NgSK's Butter Cake (blogged by Wendy of Table for 2... or more) and Tish Boyle's Plainly Perfect Pound Cake (blogged by Shirley of @Kokken), curiousity got the butter better of me, so I decided to attempt three pound cake recipes over several weekends.

The first recipe attempted was Tish Boyle's Plainly Perfect Pound Cake. The ingredients used are fairly simple like plain flour, baking powder, salt, unsalted butter, caster sugar, eggs, lemon zest, orange zest, vanilla extract and heavy cream. Method is straightforward, creaming butter then add sugar and mix till light and fluffy, followed by eggs, zest, extract, and finally alternating between flour and heavy cream.

* for full recipe, pls refer to @Kokken.

The cake turned out quite ok, fairly fine and tender with slight hint of citrus zest. Actually tasted quite good, rich and buttery when warm. But somehow turned a little hard and dry the next day.

Next up was atelier h's Green Tea Marbled Pound Cake. This recipe is from a Chinese-translated Japanese recipe book called Simple Desuga Ajiwainoaru Okashi Yaiteimasu by Setsuko Homma (幸福烘焙工房: 每天都想吃的美味甜點 シンプルですが味わいのあるお菓子焼いています,作者/本間節子). She's supposedly a renown chef blogger in Japan (www.atelierh.jp). I bought this recipe book from Kinukuniya as I like how Japanese pastries are crafted.

Green Tea Marbled Pound Cake
(makes one pound cake, 18x5x5cm)

  • 60g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp matcha powder, sifted
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degree celsius. Line baking tin with parchment paper.
  2. Sift plain flour and baking powder, set aside.
  3. Cream butter in mixer till creamy, gradually add caster sugar and beat till light and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add in the egg and mix till incorporated.
  5. Sift the plain flour and baking powder one more time and gradually add into the butter/sugar/egg batter. Fold the batter gently.
  6. Divide the batter into 2 portions. Add sifted matcha powder into the one portion of the batter and mix till incorporated.
  7. Pour the both portions of batter into the baking tin, and create the marbling effect using a spatula.
  8. Bake for 35-40 mins.

I was rather surprised that the ingredients used are so simple as compared to the Tish Boyle's recipe (as well as Mrs NgSK's). The green tea pound cake turned out slightly drier than Tish Boyle's Plainly Perfect Pound Cake, as I suspected, since the latter had heavy cream added. In terms of proportion of ingredients, the green tea cake also had a slightly larger quantity of flour as compared to the fat content (butter and egg). I also feel that the green tea taste was a little understated (could probably be due to the quality of matcha powder used).

If I were to attempt the green tea pound cake again, I would probably reduce the quantity of flour, and perhaps add more liquid and/or fat content.

And finally Mrs NgSK's Vanilla Butter Cake. Many bloggers were raving about this pound cake in Wendy's blog and FB. Ingredients are similar to Tish Boyle's recipe, except that self-raising flour is used (instead of flour + baking powder), milk is used (instead of heavy cream) and no citrus zest added. But the method differs - the egg whites are separately from the yolks and beatened (with some sugar) till soft peak stage, then folded into the batter (butter > sugar > vanilla > egg yolks > flour/milk/flour/milk/flour); very similar to how chiffon cakes are done, or when you want to have a more fluffy texture for cakes.

* for full recipe, refer to Table for 2...or more.
This pound cake turned out the nicest of all three, more moist and fluffy. I believe due to the addition of milk, and most importantly the step of folding in egg white batter. But then again, the cake too, turned a little hard and dry the next day.

My conclusion is, pound cakes are best eaten freshly baked from oven or on the same day. If eaten the next day, it's recommended to reheat for a few minutes in the oven. So probably it's my bad afterall for not giving the pound cake its due recognition :p

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