The basic cake was adapted from the pound cake in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s seminal work, The Cake Bible . I chose it as my base for experimentation because the method is simple and foolproof and the results are always buttery and delicious. Note that buckwheat requires a slight variation in method—the buckwheat flour is reserved and added with the last of the eggs to prevent the cake from becoming mushy and cement-like.
Note re: cake flour: I originally used bleached Soft As Silk for this recipe years ago, and that is the flour that I believe Rose prefers. But in these samples, I used the new, improved King Arthur bleached cake flour with very nice results. —Alice Medrich
1 pound cake
milk, at room temperature
large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons
(100 grams) sifted (before measuring) cake flour (see note above)
kamut flour, corn flour (or a combo of kamut and corn), spelt flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, buckwheat flour, or other flour (volumes vary depending on the flour)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, and vanilla just to combine them.
In the mixer bowl or other large bowl, mix the flours (excluding the buckwheat if using it), with the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter in chunks. Pour in half of the egg mixture. Beat on low speed just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (or high speed if using a hand held mixer) and beat for one minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add half of the remaining egg mixture. Beat 20 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Add the rest of the egg mixture (and the reserved buckwheat flour, if using) and beat 20 seconds. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the surface. Bake until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, normally 50 to 55 minutes, although I found that the rye flour cake baked more quickly. Cool the cake in the pan, on a rack, for 10 minutes before tipping it out to finish cooling on the rack.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).