Poundcake is the little black dress of desserts. Enjoyed for its splendid simplicity or made part of a larger ensemble, it is always an effortless star. My poundcake light as air and twice as tasty. Cinnamon brings an exotic perfume to the classic, and European style (Plugra or Kerrygold) butter is worth the splurge when you want to impress.
I cannot help but admire a deceptively simple cake whose name enshrines an entire recipe in one word. The pound in poundcake is a reference to how much of each of the main ingredients (eggs, flour, butter, and sugar) are required. It’s another way of saying, “a cake of equal parts eggs, flour, butter, and sugar.”
That sounds a lot like a ratio. And you know I love a good ratio in the kitchen! See the one that underlies this recipe here.
This recipe yields one 10-inch Bundt or two 4-cup loaves.
Brown Sugar Poundcake
336g cake flour
18g baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional but highly recommended)
336g unsalted butter, room temperature
336g brown sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325º and set the rack in the middle position. Lightly grease your pan(s) with butter.
Weigh all the dry ingredients and butter into the work bowl of a stand mixer. With the cake paddle attachment, mix on low until the butter is completely incorporated and the mixture resembles damp sand.
Beat eggs and vanilla together in a bowl and then add to flour mixture. Beat on #2 for a minute. Stop mixer and scrape down the edges of the bowl with a silicon spatula. Beat on #4 for 30 seconds and then scrape the bowl down again. Beat on #4 for a minute.
Scrape batter into pan and smooth with spatula. Rap the pan on the counter three or four times to dislodge any air bubbles and then place in oven.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Turn poundcake out and cool, still on the rack, for at least an hour before cutting.
I’m going to be honest, pancakes used bore me to tiny bits. It wasn’t until I started making them using the ratio from my Kitchen Grimoire, and playing with the recipe, that I landed on this version and came to love the pancake.
Of course they’re stellar with a pat of good salted butter (it’s Kerrygold or nothing) and some warm maple syrup (the smokey richness of the syrup from Sleeping Bear Farm in Michigan is superior). If you’re feeling different, mix it up with fresh or cooked fruit, honey, and/or whipped cream. Or go truly wild, lay a little bit of everything out, and let folks go all pancake bar. See also: prep things the night before and dominate Saturday breakfast with the kids. Bonus point for getting them to help you out with the dishes.
The real flavor driver in these pancakes is browned butter. Check out my Molasses Spice Bombs to get the technique if it’s not already in your repertoire.
This recipe yields about 16 1/4 cup pancakes.
Brown Butter Pancakes
165g a/p flour
6g baking powder
2g powdered ginger
10 grates of fresh nutmeg
88g unsalted butter, browned and cooled for fifteen minutes
Prepare browned butter, as described in this cookie recipe that you should also be trying, and set it aside to cool while you prep the other ingredients. If you’re making it the night before, gently warm to melted before adding to the milk.
Weigh flour, spices, and baking powder into the larger of two mixing bowls. Whisk to combine. Weigh salt and milk into a second bowl, crack in eggs, and whisk to combine well. While whisking, drizzle in the browned butter. Be sure to get all of those little brown bits in the butter. That there is flavor country!
Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and fold together with a large spoon or rubber spatula until mostly combined. Stop mixing when there are still some pea-sized pockets of dry flour. It’s gonna be fine. Mix the batter any longer, and you’ll have something more suited to a sneaker sole than a breakfast plate.
Let the batter rest while you heat a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Non-stick pans will also do, but I wouldn’t try this in stainless steel for love nor money. Once the pan’s up to temperature, pour in a tablespoon of oil or butter, swirl around to coat, and then wipe out with a paper towel. Yes, wipe it out.
Now ladle in pancakes of your desired size. I like 1/4 cup pancakes, which spread to about 4-inches. Turn as soon as you see bubbles breaking and lightly set in the middle of the pancake, usually about a minute. Flip and cook for another minute. Wipe the pan with the lubed paper towel from earlier between batches.
If you’re making all at once to serve as a big stack, hold them in a 170º oven on a plate lined with a clean kitchen towel. These reheat better in the toaster oven than the microwave, if you’re into that kind of thing.