Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
10 mins. to 15 mins.
Baking time:
60 mins. to 1 hrs 15 mins.
Total time:
Yield:
9" loaf cake, 18 servings.
This pound cake is a rich, dark brown outside, with an ultra-fine, golden crumb. It's mimics closely the original proportions that define pound cake: a pound each of sugar, eggs, butter (we use a combo of butter and cream cheese), and flour. If you like a dense, firm, loaf-shaped classic pound cake, then this one's for you. One non-traditional touch: the vanilla-sugar glaze brushed atop the cake towards the end of the baking time, which gives it a crackly-crunchy top crust.
Volume Ounces Grams

Cake

Topping

Directions

  1. 1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" x 2 3/4" loaf pan, or a 12" x 4" x 4" tea loaf pan. To avoid overflow, be SURE to use the correct size pan!
  2. 2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, salt, sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well combined.
  3. 3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; the mixture may look slightly curdled/grainy. After you've added the final egg, beat at high speed for 3 minutes. Once all the eggs are added, stir in the milk.
  4. 4) Add the cake enhancer, then sprinkle in the flour gradually, with the mixer going at low speed. Mix just until combined. The batter will be smooth and thick, but still pourable. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. 5) To make the topping, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water. Stir until the mixture is syrupy. At first it'll seem very stiff, but will become "drizzlable" as you stir. Set the topping aside.
  6. 6) Set the cake on a baking sheet, for easiest handling and as a precaution against potential overflow (which shouldn't happen if you use the correct size pan). Bake it for 55 minutes (for either size pan).
  7. 7) Remove the cake from the oven, and brush/drizzle with the sugar mixture. Return the cake to the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack. Insert a toothpick into the center; it should come out clean. If you use an instant-read thermometer, the center should register about 200F to 205F. The very top, right under the crust, will still be kind of soggy; don't worry about it.
  8. 8) After 5 minutes loosen the cake's edges and turn it out of the pan to cool completely on a rack.

Tips from our bakers

  • If desired, substitute 1 tablespoon lemon zest + 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil, OR 1/8 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia flavoring, for the vanilla and almond extracts.
  • If desired, bake the cake in a 9-cup tube or Bundt pan. You'll need to bake it a shorter amount of time than in the loaf pan, so start checking at 55 minutes.
  • Since this cake is so dense, the baking time can be tricky. You want it thoroughly baked, but not dried out. When the cake is done, a cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean, and the internal temperature at the center will be at least 200F. The top 1/4" or so of the top crust may still be moist and sticky; but it shouldn't be batter-like. The finished cake may have some moist streaks near the top crust; that's OK.
  • You'll find bringing the butter and cream cheese to room temperature makes them easier to beat without lumps forming. And room-temperature eggs help keep the batter lump-free, too. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to bring these ingredients to room temperature, so plan ahead.
  • This cake is wonderful sliced, warmed, and served with ice cream and berries, or hot fudge or caramel sauce. Lightly butter individual 1"-thick slices of cake, and toast (both sides) on a clean outdoor grill over low heat until just a tiny bit crispy. Alternatively, fry gently (like a grilled cheese sandwich) in a skillet. Serve immediately, topped with ice cream and the garnishes of your choice.