Cold-oven Pound Cake
This pound cake, sweet and with a crust that invites nibbling, has been a favorite for family gatherings for years. I started baking it after my father brought home a recipe for a prize-winning pound cake he was eager to try. Well, eager for me to bake so he could try it, anyway.
I prepared this cake on “Dixie Divas,” a Georgia Public Broadcasting cooking show that premiered Dec. 20. Barbara Dooley and Ronda Rich are the hosts, and guests include Gullah cooking expert Sallie Ann Robinson, who grew up on Daufuskie Island off the coast of South; Gena Knox of Fire & Flavor Grilling Co. in Athens, which makes brines and cedar planks for grilling; Billie and Louis Van Dyke of the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Ga.; and deejay Dallas McCade of country music station WKHX-FM (Kicks 101.5).
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A couple of things to be aware of: This is a cold oven pound cake, which means you don’t need to preheat the oven before baking. Also, to allow butter, eggs and milk to come to room temperature, set out on counter about an hour before use. Make sure to use a tube pan rather than a bundt pan. You’ll want to serve the cake with the top crust showing, not inverted, as it would be with a bundt pan. (That means you’ll have to flip it twice, once while taking it out of the pan, then immediately after.)
Makes 1 10-inch round tube cake
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup nonfat milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
Lightly coat a 16-cup tube pan with shortening and dust with flour, or use a baking spray. Arrange baking rack in the center of the oven, but do not preheat the oven.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and shortening together until well-blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and mix on medium speed for three to five minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed for one minute between each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternating with the milk in three stages, blending just until combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top.
Place the pan on the middle rack of a cold oven. Set the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 90 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to make sure the cake has pulled away completely, then turn the cake onto a plate. Quickly turn the cake again, this time onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.