It's hard to argue with a good pound cake. And this weekend, at a bake sale at the Friends' meetinghouse, i got a good pound cake. Which, happily, had a photocopied recipe taped to the top:
Grandmother's Pound Cake
Use an electric mixer for superior cake. Pound cake improves if stored a day or two. Butter is its characteristic flavor, but you may like to add 1/2 teaspoon mace, or 2 tablespoons brandy or orange juice, or 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, or 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Butter and flour a large loaf pan or two or more small ones. Set the oven at 300F.
Cream until light and fluffy
1 cup butter
1-2/3 cups sugar
Beat in, one at a time
When creamy, fold in
2 cups pastry or cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Spoon into the pan.
Bake about 1-1/2 hours.
Ginger Pound Cake. Add 2 tablespoons yellow ginger to the mixture.
Imperial Cake. Cut 1/2 pound seeded raisins in pieces and dredge lightly with flour. Break 1/2 cup walnut meats in pieces. Grate the rind of 1/2 lemon. Prepare the cake batter and add 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Fold in the raisins, nuts and lemon rind, and bake.
For the record, the one i got had caraway seeds, and i don't think that's a version i'll repeat - the rye bread association is just too ingrained. Now, poppy seeds, with lemon, perhaps... or a hint of maple, maybe with the orange juice and vanilla... i can see lots of other variations.