As a little girl, I was used to always having a cake or some type of pastry around the house. It was called pan dulce, at my Grandparent's it was kept in a Tupperware box in the dining room- I was quite familiar with that box. The box always had something yummy in it and I became accustomed to ending every meal on something sweet. This is where my love of baking comes in particularly handy- to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I make this pound cake often because it keeps well for at least a week under a cake dome in the kitchen. I found the recipe in a Bon Apettit magazine a long time ago, I have made it many times since. I changed nothing about the recipe, even the baking times- which I know seem a bit odd, but I promise if you follow the directions you will not be disappointed. The grain is fine, the cake is not dense, the crust has sort a crunchy feel, it is quite versatile, and best of all it keeps well. I like it with a simple Confectioner's sugar icing and seasonal fresh fruit. I do not exaggerate when I tell you this is the best pound cake I have ever had- if you were looking for a good pound cake-look no further.
A few notes about cake making:
Ingredients should always be at room temperature unless the recipe specifies otherwise. Eggs fluff up much better at room temperature and so does butter. Most cake recipes I use begin by creaming the butter and sugar, in this case the butter, cream cheese and sugar. This is the time to beat- and beat a lot. Before you add any other ingredients the butter, cheese and sugar mixture should be extremely fluffy, this will take about 5 minutes in a stand mixer at med.-high speed. Be sure to time it, as it's much longer than you think. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl and mixing only until incorporated. Once you add the flour take it very gently from there. I usually mix with the mixer a few seconds, then finish by folding it in by hand. Following these "rules" will ensure good results for your cakes.
I don't always make an icing for the pound cake, the cake can stand on it's own. This is the recipe if you want to make one: 3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar, 1 tablespoon cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla or other flavoring. (like Grand Marnier, Bailey's Khalua, almond extract, or lemon juice) Mix together until a paste forms then add additional cream or milk to take it to the desired consistency. I usually cool the cake as directed, then after cooling for 20 minutes on the rack: I place a cookie sheet under it to catch the drippings and spread the thick icing on the cake. The icing will melt slightly and drip down the sides a bit, which looks nice.
Best Cream Cheese Pound Cake
1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
One 12 cup bundt pan
In large mixer bowl combine, butter, cream cheese and sugar and beat with paddle attachment on medium speed about 5 minutes or until very fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating just until Incorporated. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
Add flour and salt and mix on low speed until just incorporated- do not over mix.
Pour batter into greased and floured pan and place in a cold oven set at 200 degrees. (yes, turn the oven on as you put the cake in). Bake at 200 for 20 minutes, then increase oven temperature to 250 and bake additional 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 275 and bake for 10 minutes longer. Now increase oven to 300 and bake about an hour, or until tester comes out clean. (I find setting a timer helps a lot with this cake).
Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool. Store at room temperature.
Serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream if desired.