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When you want to grill a piece of cake, it's clear you need cake with some body, a slice that won't crumble or disintegrate on the griddle or grill. Pound cake is the ideal solution; it's close-grained and moist, and responds nicely to the heat of the grill: the outside browns while the inside stays soft.
This recipe is fun to play around with. Add different flavorings, or coconut, dried fruit or nuts. One of our favorite versions, butter-pecan cake, uses butter-rum flavor and diced pecans. Step-by-step photos illustrating how to make caramel sauce and fudge sauce, and butter-pecan grilled pound cake, are available at Bakers’ Banter, our King Arthur blog.
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces (two 3-ounce packages) cream cheese (not low-fat!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract*
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (7 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*Flavor variations: In addition to the vanilla, add 3/4 teaspoon butter-rum or butterscotch flavor; or 1 teaspoon almond extract; or 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring. Or, skip the vanilla, and use 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil + 1 tablespoon lemon zest, or 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia + 1 tablespoon lemon zest.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan, or 9-cup tube or bundt-style pan.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add the salt, sugar, and flavorings of choice, and beat for 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
Add the flour and baking powder, beating well, and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl occasionally. The batter will be quite fluffy. Fold in up to 1 cup of diced nuts, dried flaked coconut, or dried fruit, if desired.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes for the 9" x 5" loaf pan, or 50 to 55 minutes for the Danish, tube or bundt-style pans. Tent the cake loosely with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes, if it appears to be browning too quickly. A cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Turn the cake out onto a rack or serving platter. Allow the cake to cool for several hours for best slicing. The cake will be dark brown on the edges and golden on top, with a fine crumb inside. Serve the cake at room temperature; store it well wrapped at room temperature. Yield: about 12 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (1 slice of cake, 76g): 268 cal, 15g fat, 5g protein, 13g complex carbohydrates, 16g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 107mg cholesterol, 174mg sodium, 57mg potassium, 136RE vitamin A, 1mg iron, 22mg calcium, 62mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 4, Spring 2004 issue.