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Pound Cakes – The Perfect Holiday Dessert

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Jean Ince | Domestic Columnist

The pound cake is a classic
holiday dessert that
makes a great gift. They are
easily wrapped, easily transported
and remain good for
several days. It can also be
a welcome addition to any
holiday meal celebration.
Originally, this fine-textured
loaf cake was made
with one pound each of flour,
butter, sugar and eggs, plus
a flavoring like vanilla or
lemon. A myriad of variations
have evolved throughout
the years, with additions
of leavening agents (baking
powder or baking soda) and
flavorings such as coconut,
chocolate chips, nuts, raisins,
and other dried fruits.
Of all the times, now is
when you want your pound
cake to turn out perfect.
Here are some guidelines
to help you create a tasty,
perfect pound cake for the
holidays.
The flour used in a recipe
is essential for a quality cake.
Many times a cake recipe
will call for cake flour. Cake
flour is also called pastry
flour and is fine-textured,
soft-wheat flour with high
starch content. It produces
a tender, fine-textured cake
with greater volume.
If you choose to use allpurpose
flour, your results
may produce a tough rather
than tender cake. All-purpose
flour is made from a
blend of high gluten hard
wheat and low-gluten soft
wheat. It’s great for breads,
but may not produce the
cake texture you are looking
for.
It is not necessary to sift
your flour when measuring.
Simply spoon the flour
lightly into a measuring cup
and level with a flat edge. If
you are opening a package
of flour, always stir the flour
with a fork before measuring.
Flour has a tendency to pack
during shipping and storage.
Use the correct pan size
for a quality cake. Always
use the size called for and
fill the pan no more than
half full.
Believe it or not, pan color
does make a difference.
Shiny metal pans produce a
tender, light-brown crust, because
heat is reflected away
from the cake. If using a glass
pan, reduce the temperature
by 25 degrees.
Be sure to grease both the
bottom and sides generously
with shortening, not butter,
margarine or oil, unless your
recipe calls for it.
Once your cake is baked,
remove from the oven and
test with a wooden toothpick
or I like to use a wooden
skewer for deep pans. Allow
the cake to cool for 10 minutes
in the pan before inverting
onto a cooling rack. Once
cooled completely, you can
transfer it to a serving plate.
Pound cakes and other
shortening-type cakes
should be cut with a long,
thin knife, or with a thin
strand of string such as
dental floss. This will allow
your cake to slice perfectly
with few crumbs.
Pound cakes can be
stored at room temperature
as long as they do not
contain toppings or fillings
made with cream, whipped
topping or cream cheese. In
that case, they will need to
be stored in the refrigerator.
Some common problems
you might encounters and
how to fix them include:
Bubbles or tunnels: too
many eggs; too little sugar;
over mixing; uneven blending
of leavening agents.
Soggy cake: Under baked;
too much shortening; under
mixed; not cooled on cooling
rack.
Fallen cake: too much
liquid, sugar, fat or leavening;
under baked; pan was
too small.
Dry: too little liquid, sugar
or shortening; baked too
long; too much leavening.
Low volume: wrong size
cake pan; oven too hot; too
much liquid or fat.
Top peaked or cracked:
too much flour; oven too hot;
over mixing.
You can never go wrong
with pound cake, whether
you use it for a gift or as part
of your holiday meal!
If you prefer to leave the
baking up to someone else,
then come by the Howard
County Extension Homemaker
Annual Christmas
Bake Sale this Friday, December
18 in front of Western
Auto. There will be plenty
of cakes, cookies, breads
and all your holiday baking
needs available. Come
early for the best selection
as many items sell fast! The
sale will begin at 8:00 a.m.
Recipe of the Week
Here is a delicious pound
cake you may want to try.
Dana Newberg, Twilight EHC
submitted this recipe for the
last Howard County EHC
Cookbook. There are only a
few of the cookbooks left and
they make great last minute
presents. If you would like to
purchase one, call the Extension
Office at 870-845-7517
or visit our office located
on the second floor of the
courthouse.
German Chocolate Pound
Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
2 teaspoons butter flavoring
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups sifted all-purpose
flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package German sweet
chocolate
Cream sugar and
shortening. Add the eggs,
flavorings and buttermilk.
Sift together flour, soda and
salt. Add to the creamed
mixture. Mix well. Add German
chocolate that has been
softened in a double boiler.
Blend together well. Bake in
a greased and floured tube
pan at 300 degrees for 1 ½
hours. Test with a toothpick.
Remove from pan and put
under a tight fitting cake
cover while still hot and
cover until cold.

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