Whenever I ask someone what they would like me to bring to a function, my hope is that their answer will be “dessert” or “a treat.” This is partly because I love to bake but also really love to eat, so making a pan of brownies or a batch of cookies for just Mike and I is bad news. I’m also what my friend Marianne calls a “feeder”, meaning that I love nothing more than to cook for people, and while a good salad might be appreciated, that combination of sweetness and fat we call dessert seems to be where people really feel the love.
This cake was first made in response to my Mother-In-Law’s request that I bring dessert to a Father’s Day barbecue. Strawberries were in the peak of their season so I wanted to incorporate them in a dessert but didn’t feel like going the angel food route (too sweet) or making a traditional shortcake (not sweet enough). This pound cake turned out to be a perfect compromise. It is sweet but not overly so, and has some substance and density to it without tasting excessively rich or buttery like most pound cakes. In fact, I think the term pound cake is a little misleading here, as the cake this recipe produces is more of a really moist loaf cake.
But what’s in a name? The bottom line here is that, if you are a feeder like myself, you should make this cake the next time your cooking skills are called upon. Serve it with some fresh berries and whipped cream, or even just a scoop of good ice cream. Jazz it up with different flavorings or glazes if you’re feeling adventurous. And rejoice in the fact that, if your friends and family are anything like mine, you’re making them very, very happy.
Buttermilk Pound Cake
(I would like to tell you that one day this site will contain beautifully styled food photography, but I'm afraid these hastily taken phone shots are as good as it's gonna get).
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs at room temperature*
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons flavoring of your choice (I used vanilla)
1. Cream butter, gradually add sugar, beating at medium-high speed of an electric mixer until well blended (about 5 minutes).
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
3. Combine flour, soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture ( I keep my mixer on low when I do this).
4. Stir in flavorings.
5. Pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan (I used my bundt pan).**
6. Bake at 325 degrees F (163 degrees C) for 1 hour, or until inserted tester comes out clean.
*I used to ignore this instruction but I've found that room temp. eggs really do make my cakes better. If you've forgotten to take the eggs out of the fridge prior to starting your recipe, just put them in a bowl of barely warm water (not too warm or you'll cook the poor things) for about five minutes. That should do the trick.
**I think this cake would actually be better baked in two loaf pans, asthetically speaking. If you go this route, watch the bake time. I'm guessing it will be about 40 minutes or so.