I am uncertain as to what the barefoot contessa planned for this, her ‘plain pound cake’ – I cut the recipe in half and made it on a whim, just to have a pound cake in the house to go with coffee and fruit. After tasting it; and reading some of the reviews on foodnetwork.com, I am resolved to try a full batch, but make it in a bundt pan and top it with a glaze of some sort; or make a half batch (single loaf) again and turn it into a trifle. One reviewer turned it into a pineapple kind-of-sort-of upside down pound cake – I like a recipe that’s flexible.
NOTE: the quantities listed will make TWO pound cakes. I’m jus’ sayin…
•1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
•2 cups sugar
•4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
•3 cups flour
•1/2 tsp baking powder
•1/2 tsp baking soda
•1 tsp kosher salt – I used regular table salt
•3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature*
•1 tsp pure vanilla extract – I think another teaspoon or two would be nice in this
*No buttermilk? No problem! Check out this easy to make substitute.
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Grease and flour two loaf pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper (you really want to do this; break down and buy the parchment paper already – you’ll be glad you did).
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.
Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans, place on a baking rack and allow them to cool completely.
Wrap well, and store in the refrigerator. Mine was actually fine in the bread box for a couple of days, but if I were making this for a trifle, I think I’d let it sit on the counter, wrapped loosely, for a day or so to get a bit stale.