This simple recipe, a so-called economy pound cake, is an excellent base for the luscious fruits os high summer.
Rich and flavorful, it’s so much better than the shortcakes you’ll find at the grocer.
Taken from “Recipes from Old Virginia Cookbook,” the authors called this recipe an “economy” pound cake because it’s a riff on classic versions of this dessert, which traditionally called for exactly what it sounds like, a pound each of butter, sugar and eggs. But this version calls for just 1/2 pound of butter, 2 cups of sugar and 4 eggs.
While many pound cakes are greasy, the crumb of the economy pound cake is light and moist, yet dry to the touch. And the best part is the slight spiciness and flavor it gets from the addition of mace and nutmeg.
If you like, macerate your berries with a little bit of sugar, a pinch of salt, lemon zest and a splash of Grand Marnier, just enough to bring out the best in the fruit, but not enough to mask it.
Economy pound cake
1/2pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2cups superfine sugar
1/4teaspoon ground mace
2teaspoons baking powder
3cups cake flour
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1cup whole milk
Powdered sugar, to dust
Fresh berries, to serve
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a Bundt pan with baking spray (a blend of oil and flour).
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat until fully incorporated. Set aside.
In a second bowl, sift together the salt, mace, nutmeg, baking powder and flour. In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the vanilla and milk.
With the mixer on medium, add a bit of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well. Add a bit of the milk, mixing again. Alternate adding the flour and milk until all ingredients are well mixed. As needed, use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are mixed. The batter should be smooth and silky.
Using a clean bowl and clean beaters, whip the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes. Overturn the cake onto a serving plate, then dust with powdered sugar just before serving. If desired, top and surround the cake with fresh berries.
Makes 12 servings. Per serving: 380 calories; 160 calories from fat (42 percent of total calories); 18 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 105 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 1 g fiber; 210 mg sodium.
Adapted from “Recipes from Old Virginia Cookbook” published in 1958 by The Virginia Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs