From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This was a bit of an experiment for me. Cold oven pound cakes have been around for years, but despite my age, I've never made one. Thoughts of shortcake and an abundance of strawberries convinced me it was time to remedy that, so, I decided to give this old, old cake a try. I'm told that recipes for it first appeared in advertising campaigns designed to entice homemakers into replacing wood-fired ovens with the gas stoves that were being introduced to market. Our grandmothers, seduced by cooler kitchens, were probably not interested in the chemistry of the cold oven pound cake, but I'm not going to let you off that easily. The method works for a specific reason. Ovens are preheated in order to give cakes a burst of hot air that allows them to rise. As it turns out, pound cakes are so dense that they don't rise much anyway, so, that initial blast of hot air just isn't necessary. Chemistry aside, when the temperature of the cake batter is allowed to rise along with the oven temperature, it develops a wonderful crust and the interior of the cake will cook completely without burning the outer rim. From the abundance of available recipes, I decided to use the one that had been developed for Cook's Country Magazine. It's an easy recipe and I know from experience that their recipes work. This was no exception and I loved the cake. It was a bit lighter than most pound cakes and it had a wonderful crumb that was more than a match for the delicious crust the recipe produced. I hope all of you will try this cake. It is a keeper. Here's how it is made.
Cold Oven Pound Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Cook's Country Magazine
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1) Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Grease and flour 16-cup tube pan. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Whisk milk and vanilla in measuring cup.
2) With electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of milk mixture. Mix on low until smooth, about 30 seconds. Use rubber spatula to give batter final stir.
3) Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Place cake in cold oven. Adjust oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake, without opening oven door, until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 65 to 80 minutes.
4) Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Serve. (Cooled cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)Yield: 12 servings.
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