Friday, June 20, 2008

Butter Pound Cake

Baking a butter cake is really not that easy to be completely honest. Usually the simpler the cake is, the harder it is to make. Just like cooking, stir frying an excellent dish of vegies is probably harder than stewing some meat. Some things look simple because the steps and ingredients are minimal. However the challenge lies in the execution & in finding the right balance between the ingredients.

Pound cake is basically an American sponge butter cake, which was done at a time when the methods of measuring were not so good. So the cake was done with one pound of flour, butter, egg and sugar each. But to achieve a good balance between moistness, texture and taste is really not so easy. It should be soft & moist, not dry and coarse. In terms of texture, the crust should be fine and airholes should be even and small, which makes it look dense. Taste wise, light and buttery. I tried to make it a couple of times and I think it is ready.

Here is the recipe, Aunty Terri. Don't know if this is exactly what you wanted but do try and see if it is close to the Sara Lee ones that you were talking about. Even if it is not, I think this recipe is still quite nice on its own but if you do make it better and let me know. Good luck!

Make an 8-inch square cake

300 gm of butter like Farmcows
250 gm of flour
250 gm of castor sugar
4 large eggs (about 200 over grams)
1/2 to 3/4 teasp of ovalette or cake emulsifiers
2/3 teasp of baking powder
2 tbsp of milk
100 gm of apricot or dried fruits soaked with 1 tbsp of alcohol like cointreu or rum (optional)

1) Semi soften the chilled butter. If you use farmcows or the like (which is a little like spread), press your finger into the butter. It should not be melting soft or cold hard. A good softness is when it can slowly dent it. Beat butter with k-beater till puffy and pale in colour approximately 8-10 min. Set aside.

2) In another clean bowl, beat eggs with sugar on high. As it starts to increase in volume, add ovalette and continue beating till thick. It is almost ready when strong defined lines start appearing as the whisk moves in the mixture. Do not let mixture get higher than the whisk. This is a very critical step. If you overbeat it, the cake will turn out coarse with big airholes. If you underbeat it, the cake will turn out hard.

3) Turn to slow and slowly add in butter. Continue slow mixing. Add sifted flour and baking powder. Continue slow mixing and add milk. Mix till mixture is even.

4) With a clean hand and fingers shaped into a claw like how you hold a computer mouse, stir the mixture till you can feel the tightness in the batter. This is the secret to make butter cake tight yet light.

5) Preheat oven to 165 deg non fan forced and bake for 35 minutes till golden brown or when toothpick poke into cake turns out clean. Do not overbake as doing so causes dryness. One very obvious sign of overbaking is when the cake start pulling away from the tin during baking.

I wrote this based on my own experience, which may not be entirely correct. Hopefully, it will help. Do share if you have any better way.


I like adding dried apricots or dried mixed fruits to my cake because Greg likes the crunch. Apricot is our favourite. Soak apricots with 3 tbsp of hot water and cut into small cubes. Soak further with a tbsp of cointreu or grand marnier. With dried fruits, soak with dark rum. Add before step 4. But adding fruits will make cutting a little more difficult but if the cake is tight, it should not have fruits falling all over during cutting.


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

thank u, nee. this looks very good n delicious n i'll try it out n tell u if i like it.

NEE said...

hi A Terry. i asked a friend who had Sara Lee's and she think it is lighter.

Do note that many commercial ones to achieve very light results, they used margarine or half butter half margarine, you know those 3-4 rm per kg packet. If you want you can experiment with both. I tasted those with margarine before. it is shocking that the taste is so close to butter but it will leave a waxy after taste. Butter even just farmcow is so much more flavourful but results will be little denser.

ellen said...

Hi Nee

Thanks for the butter cake recipe.

Can I omit the stabiliser ??


warm regards

NEE said...

hi ellen.

unfortunately no. the ovalette is there to whip up the egg. without it your egg mixture will be water and you prob end up with a hard cake.

if you are worry then you will have to resolve to the traditional butter cake with is beat butter with sugar til fluffy and white then add egg one by one finally the dry ingredients. this method will produce slightly coarser texture.

Good luck!

ellen said...

Hi Nee

Thanks again. Will buy the ovalette and try your recipe.

We love butter cakes as they are the most tasty.

Warm regards

Superman said...

Good butter cake recipe. linked to your site from Yan. she followed your recipe and it the butter cake she make also look nice as yours. Will give it to my sis for a try. thanks

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