If you’re looking for a super rich cake, you can’t go far wrong with pound cake. Made up from the standard cake ingredients of butter, eggs, sugar and flour, a pound cake lives up to its name as the equal ratio of all the ingredients means that you end up with quite a thick, heavy cake.
On Pound Cake Day, cake lovers around the world get to celebrate the hearty treat with its very own day. After all, raising awareness about cake is a very important task!
The History of Pound Cake Day
The pound cake’s name appears to have come from 18th century Europe, where the original recipe appears to call for a pound’s weight of each of the ingredients. This recipe would give you quite a big pound cake if you were to try it (technically, you’d have a cake that weighs four pounds!) so it’s likely that they were made for large gatherings or with the intention of selling off individual slices. Supposedly the mixture was devised so that even people who were unable to read might be able to memorize how it is made.
Later recipes tended to stick to the ratio of equal parts all ingredients, but so that it would result in a smaller cake. One easy way of doing this is simply halving or quartering your pound measurement. Nowadays, the kind of pound cake you can buy at the store will likely have a lighter, more buttery consistency, and depending on where you are you might get a slightly different style. In Britain, a pound cake is usually known as Madeira cake, and in France you might find variants with chocolate and lemon juice.
- The Pound Cake is a British creation that dates back to the early 1700s.
- In the 1796 cookbook American Cookery: or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Puff-pastes, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves, and all kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plumb to plain Cake by Amelia Simmons, she includes two recipes. This was the first cookbook authored by an American and published in the United States.
- Pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a Bundt mold, and served either dusted with powdered sugar, lightly glazed, or sometimes with a coat of icing.
- In Britain pound cake is more commonly known as ‘Sponge cake’ or ‘Madeira cake’.
- The German Eischwerkuchen is a recipe very similar to the pound cake.
- In France pound cake (named “quatre-quarts”, which means four-quarters) is a traditional and popular cake of the French region of Brittany, and as its name implies, uses the same quantity of the four ingredients, but with no added fruit of any kind