Creaming vs melting and alternate flours

Hi, I’m really curious to try this recipe. I saw that some pound cake recipes and almost all of the French quarte-quarts versions call for melted butter instead of creaming method! What is the difference in texture between the two methods, if it really makes a difference? I’m looking for a fine tight crumb, super moist and dense cake - Additionally if I wanted substitute part of the flour with semolina or cornmeal what would the ratio be, while keeping it super moist? Thanks!

Go-To Vanilla Pound Cake
Recipe question for: Go-To Vanilla Pound Cake


Lori T. June 1, 2021
Melted butter separates into a liquid and a fat component, which changes how it interacts with the other ingredients. Primarily, those would be how it acts with the sugar and the flour. Sugar likes to hold onto water, and flour gets coated with the fat, so less gluten forms. The result is a slightly moister and denser product. Creaming butter and sugar introduces air into the equation, so the end product is a bit less dense, and rises a bit higher due to the air. It will also be slightly more tender to tooth. There are folks dedicated to both methods to make a plain pound cake- and you will just have to try both methods to see which you prefer yourself. What counts most in a plain pound cake is the use of very good quality ingredients for the butter and vanilla. Since the cake is plain, there's no room to hide inferior ones. A pound cake made with semolina and melted butter would probably be your best bet to get the texture you are looking for- see if you can find the one from Ottolenghi. I've had cornmeal poundcakes, and personally don't care for that texture. To me they are just sweeter and denser versions of cornbread- but that's just me maybe. There are plenty of recipes for both semolina and cornmeal poundcakes out there, and you just need to try a few to see which you like- just like whether to use melted or softened butter.
claudia June 1, 2021
Thanks Lori! What a great answer I really appreciate it. So if the melted butter achieves this texture, would it be similar to using olive oil at that point? I will try this option with melted butter and plain flour first and then start making changes with alternative flours. Thanks again’
Lori T. June 3, 2021
It would be similar in terms of density, most likely. Olive oil is pure fat though, so it would not bring any water for the sugar to hold on to. Another thing to consider with olive oil, especially with a plain pound cake, is the taste of the oil. You'd want to use a really bland oil, or you could end up tasting slightly like vanilla olives.
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