Story first, recipe second. About a year-and-a-half ago, a girl came into the shop looking for a job. She said she had attended culinary school, but had to drop out because she had a baby. We needed someone, so I hired her.
First day on the job, we were making lemon pound cake (recipe to follow). I went through the recipe, step by step, so she would understand (all the time figuring this probably wasn't necessary since, surely, as she had been to culinary school, she knew the basics of the various mixing methods).
The thing with pound cake is that it gets most of its volume or leavening power from creaming the butter and the sugar and beating the in eggs alternately with the dry ingredients. You can read all about the chemistry involved , or just take my word for it. In any case, the mixing method IS important, which is why I went to the trouble of explaining it to the new girl.
Imagine my surprise when, about 15 minutes in to the mixing process, I look over to see her mixing flour into the butter, with the sugar sitting on the counter.
- "WHAT are you doing?"
- "Making pound cake."
- "That ISN'T how you make pound cake."
- "It doesn't matter"
- "What do you mean, it doesn't matter?"
- "Well, the magic pan..."
- "The WHAT??"
- "My mom has a magic pan, it doesn't matter how you mix it, when you bake it in this pan, it always comes out perfect."
I SWEAR she really said this. And she got me there. I didn't know what to say. The best I could come up with was "Well sweetie, we don't have a magic pan, and it DOES matter how you mix it." That was her first and last day.
Here is the recipe she used, and it will be in our cookbook. And, if you follow the directions, it will come out using any old loaf pan, magic or not.
Lemon Pound Cake Recipe
1 C. butter
2 C. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. granulated sugar
1 T. fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with one egg at a time. Fold in the lemon zest and lemon extract. Spread evenly in a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 325*F until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean (about 1 hour and 10 minutes). Cool on wire rack before removing cake from pan.
Makes 1 cake