Beautiful buttery-golden pound cake, faintly flavored with vanilla and almond, is the perfect summer dessert.
It’s simple and pretty, not to mention it’s a fantastic vessel for topping with some of summer’s beautiful bounty: fresh strawberries, blueberries, peaches, apricots, or cherries.
This recipe is the traditional pound cake recipe, with just a couple modifications. I cut it in half (so instead of being 1 pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, it’s half a pound of each) because I only wanted to make one loaf. Also, I added a touch of vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt to give the cake more flavor. Don’t be tempted to add a leavening agent – this cake does not need it! (The cake will rise and split on the top without any leavener.)
I do have a couple tips to share for making the best pound cake: 1) since it’s flavor will be pronounced, use the best quality butter you can find (I like Kerrygold unsalted), 2) don’t over-mix the batter, and 3) don’t over-bake the cake. Just be mindful of these things and this cake is virtually impossible to mess up.
Oh, and the strawberry sauce couldn’t be easier…all you have to do is combine sliced berries with rosewater and sugar, and let them sit! After an hour in the fridge the sugar will be dissolved and the berries will be coated in a sticky-sweet syrup that is absolutely perfect for topping pound cake. Or for a lighter dessert when there isn’t time to bake a cake, just eat the strawberries with a spoon…maybe topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
A quick note on the rosewater for the strawberry sauce – you can find it in Middle Eastern or Indian groceries, in the international aisle of some regular grocery stores, or online. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at making it yourself. Of course, if the slightly perfume-y quality that rosewater imparts on desserts isn’t your thing, you can swap it out for vanilla extract.
For more inspiration, here are a few other beautiful pound cakes from around the web:
- Butter, to grease the pan
- ½ lb (227 g) unsalted butter (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks), at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract (or use an additional 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
- ½ lb (227 g) sugar (about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
- ½ lb (227 g) eggs (4 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk)
- ½ lb (227 g) all-purpose flour (about 1¾ cup)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups (17.5 oz/500 g) sliced strawberries
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon rosewater
- For the cake, preheat oven to 325F; grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan (preferably a glass pan) with butter and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- Use a handheld electric mixer to beat the butter and extracts together in a large bowl. Cream in the sugar. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until fully incorporated and fluffy before adding another. Once the eggs are added, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and use a wooden spoon to stir just until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the loaf is golden on all sides, split on top, and a toothpick inserted inside comes out with just a couple crumbs (not completely dry), about 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, and then run a knife along the perimeter and slide the loaf out. Transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
- For the strawberry sauce, combine all ingredients and let them sit for an hour in the fridge.
- Serve each slice of pound cake topped with strawberry sauce, and of course you can also add a dollop of whipped cream if you like.
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