No—I did not invent a recipe for making an excellent pound cake in a food processor. But I know a good thing when I see it, and I saw this good thing in America’s Test Kitchen’s latest book The Perfect Cake. It was simply called “Pound Cake.” Talk about burying the lead!
I immediately noticed that it was made in a food processor and with melted butter. If you don’t bake much, you may not know that this just breaks soooo many rules (which is also a good reason for anyone who doesn’t bake much to make this cake). I had to make it. When I reviewed the book for the Wall Street Journal, I felt I owed it to everyone involved—especially readers—to test a few of the recipes. This cake looked improbable and too darn easy. Pound cakes can be tricky, and a failed one (or just a bad recipe) makes a fine doorstop—either way, I knew I’d have some decent talking points after testing this one.
The pound cake was a rousing success. It looked and smelled like pound cake. It was buttery, close-grained, and tender. I nibbled it before bed, and craved it with coffee the next morning. Hypothetically—since there were none—stale slices would have toasted up nicely.
The method remains improbable: pour hot melted butter over sugar and eggs in a food processor, then scrape the batter into a mixing bowl and whisk the flour in by hand. Transfer to loaf pan. Bake. It works. How could you not want to make this?
Not only did I want to make the cake again, I wanted to play with it (beyond the lemon, orange, and almond variations given in the original recipe). The fact that hot melted butter was involved begged for steeping aromatics and spices in the butter. I visited my recently refreshed spice drawer (a whole other story) for inspiration and tried combinations like toasted coriander seeds with cinnamon and cardamom; freshly ground coffee with ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon; saffron with vanilla, and more. I tried a version with brown butter, adding a little water to the batter to compensate for the water driven off in the browning of the butter. And then, since the recipe goes together in a matter of minutes, it was easy to find time to try swapping brown sugar for half of the white sugar.
I’m sharing the basic recipe with a few of my variations here—because, well, I can’t just leave a good thing alone. Next time I’m going to try using some of the endless jaggery samples leftover from my jaggery shortbread.
I’m not done with this pound cake yet, but I think you can carry on without me!
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use fine sea salt)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 16 tablespoons (225 grams) unsalted butter, melted and hot
- 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) cake flour (bleached or unbleached—I used the latter)
Another Breakfast/Snack Option, Right This Way:
How do you want to riff on this pound cake? Let us know in the comments!