Noma-Approved Do-It-All Cake

December  6, 2017
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

Once you are comfortable with making this cake, it is the gateway to a host of rather impressive desserts that use this simple batter as a foundation. It is so easy to dress up for any occasion by adding fruits and berries to the batter or adding a topping, or even just baking it in a different pan. Since it uses so few ingredients, make sure they are the best quality you can find. Using a vanilla bean rather than extract, for example, does make a difference here.

Reprinted from 'Downtime' by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Nadine Levy Redzepi. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 1 3/4 cups (245g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (110g) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter a 9x5-inch (23x12-cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the 1 3/4 cups (245g) flour, the baking powder, and the sea salt in a medium bowl. Put the butter and sugar in another medium bowl. Use the tip of a small knife to split the vanilla bean lengthwise then scrape the seeds into the bowl, saving the pod for another use. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer on high speed until it is pale, 4 to 5 minutes. (Don't shortchange this step. Because of the high proportion of sugar to butter, this will take some time to change color and texture.)
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with two additions of the cream, and beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, just until smooth.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the flaky sea salt.
  5. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the top has a nice golden color, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, remove the paper, and turn the cake right side up to cool completely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gloria Garcia
    Gloria Garcia
  • Millicent
  • Regine
  • panga

15 Reviews

panga April 15, 2018
My cake sank in the middle as well. I baked for 50 mins and it was cooked all the way through. Thinking maybe a full hour would have done the trick. I loved that the cake had s nice crust that contracted with the moist inside. Next time I will add 1/2 cup less sugar as it was a bit too sweet for me. The vanilla flavor was great with subtle saltiness of the Maldon flaky sea salt.
Sophie H. March 1, 2018
Why so much sugar ? If I put just half of it, do you think It would still work ? I would like to add 2 lemons and their zest. Please tell me.
soleilnyc January 24, 2018
Baked in the recommended pan for 70 mins. At 60, the cake was still wobbly. Not sure what texture I was aiming for with the butter and sugar as, after 7 minutes in the kitchen aid, it still kind of looked like wet compacted sugar.
The flavor is lovely, especially since I went all out with pastured eggs, grass fed cream and butter, Madagascar vanilla beans and Maldon salt. But I wouldn't say it's a mind-blowing cake. It's really best as a base or vehicle for something else-- add nuts or fruit as suggested or top with something to serve. Alone, it's just a pretty good pound cake.
Gloria G. January 7, 2018
how would this do in a 9 inch round pan, do you think?
Millicent January 7, 2018
I made it in a 10 inch springform, and the cake rose up quite high as it baked. I'm not a super-experienced baker and would love for someone else to weigh in, but I suggest trying two 9 inch pans if they're the regular kind with lower sides than a springform.
Saffron3 December 11, 2017
I do become sad when a cake so simple, and with such potential for me, has a method that requires a mixer. I don't have one, half the world doesn't have one. Darn.
KR December 11, 2017
1. have you checked out the non-electric beaters? (no, not a joke...I have one, have to spin a little handle on the side which turns the two beaters)
2. people made cakes long before electric appliances came to be...just requires a good wooden spoon and whisk, more time, and a very strong arm! (I've also done this when I lived in Asia and didn't want to re-invest in one).
witloof December 11, 2017
Do you mean that you don't have a stand mixer or you don't have a handheld mixer? I own both and tbh rarely pull out my stand mixer, almost always opting for the hand version. They can be purchased very inexpensively, especially with a Bed Bath coupon, and are well worth the investment.
Wilnette December 10, 2017
Hi I have made this cake twice and both times it sanked in the middle. Also the outer crust was hard even after I baked second cake 25 degrees lower. Please help!
Nancy M. December 11, 2017
I had the same experience. It is even a little underdone in the middle while the edges and top are almost too crusty. The flavor is nice, but I have other recipes I like as well. I do like the salt on top and will try it on my favorite pound cake, but I think this one is not a success for me.
Wilnette December 11, 2017
Nancy yes, my first was undergone but top and outer crust was overdone as to why I lowered the temp. Would you share "your favorite pound cake" recipe? I would love to try it with the salt on top😀.
Nancy M. December 11, 2017
On Allrecipes look for Grandma's Sour Cream Pound Cake by LVJOANNE. I cut it in half, add a little lemon zest and bake it in a loaf pan at 325 for 80 min.
Wilnette December 12, 2017
Thank you so much! I have been looking for a good pound cake.
Millicent December 10, 2017
Delicious! I made this as written, using our local organic butter (not European style), and the flavor was rounded, complex and vanilla-y, not too salty at all. The salt sprinkled on top was a really nice touch, but fine to skip if you prefer. The texture was great too, but we needed the oven so I took it out at 50 minutes, and it was a bit underbaked. This cake would pair well with fruit or dark chocolate, but it's so rich and luscious that it doesn't need anything else. I would suggest trying it plain before serving with whipped cream or frosting, which could be too much.
Regine December 8, 2017
Looks tasty. I will definitely try recipe. However, I am seing cake asks for more salt than usual. Salted butter, salt in batter plus salt also sprinkled on batter in pan.