Let’s talk a little about the science that is baking. The chemical reactions that occur when baking powder comes in contact with the liquid in cake batter and when it hits the oven, and how baking soda reacts with the acidic ingredient in the cake batter to create water and carbon dioxide, and then these little air bubbles of carbon dioxide get trapped in the batter and make the cake fluffy. Phew! Baking truly is science. There are certainly times when you can cheat *raising hands* – cheat here, but generally baking is science. I was never a science student, never studied Chemistry so i
can’t won’t go into details on chemical reactions and what not. I am just here to tell you the little i know about making pound cakes. Yes, pound cakes, that’s why we are here. Did you think this was Chemistry 1o1? 🙂
So, pound cakes… Humble yet elegant, dense yet moist and tender, velvety, buttery and finely crumbed. How can one simple cake have so many qualities? Did i mention versatile? Think french toasts, trifles, croutons for fruit salads, crumbles, poke cakes… and so much more.
Generally the rule in baking cakes is to not over mix your batter, because over mixing activates the gluten in the flour which will result in a tough textured cake. I learnt a quick and different method of mixing pound cakes where the butter is mixed with the dry ingredients first. This way, the fat coats the gluten-forming proteins in the flour so that when the wet ingredients are added, very little gluten is formed during mixing. Then i went ahead to use cake flour which is low in gluten-forming proteins. Win-Win!
Now if you let them, pound cakes can be a bit bland, so to improve the flavor and texture, i added cream cheese. I ended up with the mother of all pound cakes, if i do say so myself. Spongy, thick textured and moist.
Cream Cheese Pound Loaf
Makes two 8 x 4 x 2.5 loaves
Cake Flour – 3 Cups (360 grams)
Sugar – 1½ Cups (300 grams)
Cream Cheese – 1 Cup (226 grams)
Butter – ½ Cup (113 grams)
Eggs – 5
Yogurt – ¼ Cup
Baking Soda – ¼ teaspoon
Salt – ½ teaspoon
Lemon rind – 1 teaspoon
- Preheat oven to 325°F/165°C/Gas Mark 3
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and lemon rind
- Add the butter and cream cheese to the dry mixture and mix until it looks like breadcrumbs
- Add 2 eggs and the yogurt to the breadcrumb-like mixture and mix until fully incorporated
- Add the remaining 3 eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition
- Once all the eggs are in, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix the batter for about 1 minute
- Pour into greased loaf tins and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (start checking from 1 hour)
*If the top of the cake starts getting too brown before the cake is fully baked, cover the top with aluminum foil.
*Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before you start.