Simple ingredients and minimal equipment make pound cake a beloved recipe among many cooks. With its buttery flavor and moist texture, the basic recipe creates the perfect backdrop for flavorful add-ins such as raisins. These chewy, dry fruits can be added to pound cake alone or in addition to other flavorful ingredients such as extracts, spices or nuts.
Classic pound cake requires no special equipment. If you have a stand or hand mixer, use it to cream the butter and sugar and to mix the ingredients together for the cake batter. If you don't have a mixer, you can also combine the ingredients by hand. Other helpful tools include measuring spoons and cups and a long wooden toothpick or a clean knife that you can use to test the cake for doneness. Grease the cake pan and dust it with flour to keep the cake from sticking. Alternatively, line the pan with parchment paper and grease it for even easier release.
Making a flavorful pound cake with a moist crumb requires few ingredients. The classic pound cake recipe combines 1 pound of each of the following ingredients: Butter, eggs, flour and sugar. Add in approximately 1/4 pound of golden or dark raisins to flavor the pound cake. For optimal results, use high quality, name-brand butter, sugar and flour. Store brands may have a slightly different composition than their name-brand counterparts. For example, store brand sugar is typically ground more finely, while flour may contain more hard wheat, which affects the lift and density of the cake.
Maximize the cake's volume by using room temperature ingredients. Take ample time creaming the butter and sugar to a light and fluffy consistency, with enough air to give the cake a lift.
Plumping the Raisins
Transform the texture of the raisins from dry and chewy to soft and juicy by plumping them before adding them to the pound cake batter. All you need to do is place the raisins in a bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to cover the dried fruit. Allow the raisins to soak for at least 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can place raisins in a microwave-safe bowl, cover them with water or the liquid of your choice, and microwave them for approximately 1 minute before covering the bowl and cooling them in the refrigerator. Make rum raisin pound cake by using rum as the plumping liquid in place of water.
Raisin Pound Cake Variations
Your options for changing the flavors of the raisin pound cake are only limited by your own preferences and imagination. Top the cake with a rum raisin sauce, make by plumping the raisins in dark rum and then adding the raisins and the rum to simmering mixture made with 1 part water and 2 parts sugar. Spice the sauce by allowing a cinnamon stick to steep in the hot liquid. Optionally, add grated citrus rind and vanilla extract to enhance the sauce's flavor.
Stirring additional ingredients into the basic recipe is another way to spice up the cake or alter its texture and flavor. For example, blend in additional ingredients such as orange zest, cinnamon or chopped nuts. Alternatively, swap the raisins for dried cranberries for a similar, although slightly tarter version.
- Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook; Ruth Berolzheimer
- Professional Baking, Volume 1; Wayne Gisslen
- San Francisco A La Carte; Junior League of San Francisco
- Southern Living: Tips for Baking a Perfect Pound Cake
- Serious Eats: Sweet Technique: How to Make Perfect Pound Cake
- The Kitchn: Tip: How To Plump Up Your Raisins
- Photo Credit MSPhotographic/iStock/Getty Images
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