Vanilla Pound Cake

Pound cake is a wonderful and versatile dessert. It can be served plain, as the base for trifle, with fresh fruit or with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

The popular cake got named for its weight and ingredients. Back in the 1700s, the recipe called for one pound each of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. Over the years the recipe has been pared down for a lighter but richer, buttery cake.

Memorial Day Weekend begins the family picnic season, when we all try to come up with the perfect dessert. Pound cake with fresh blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream works well with the red-white-and-blue patriotic theme for Memorial Day and Independence Day.

You can make this cake relatively easily and a day in advance.
Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened butter, softened
3 cups sugar
5 extra large eggs, room temperature
3 cups gluten-free cake flour *
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions
Bring the butter, eggs and milk to room temperature, which typically takes 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder. Set the mixture aside.

With the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, gradually work up to the highest speed to cream the butter until it turns almost white. That usually takes three minutes. Slowly add the sugar and continue to beat on high speed. This might take five minutes or more. Once the sugar and butter get light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time while occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Then, add the vanilla.

Reduce the speed to medium and alternate blending in the flour mixture with the milk, one cup of flour and then ¼-cup of milk — again occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl. It will be very heavy in texture.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans, place in the upper half of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The cake should be golden brown.

To test, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out dry, the cake is done. Remove the cake from the oven, place on a rack and let it cool for at least an hour.

* To make cake flour, measure one cup of all-purpose gluten-free flour, take out 2 tablespoons of flour and add 2 tablespoons cornstarch. So, with this recipe subtract 6 tablespoons of flour and add 6 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift the flour to be sure cornstarch is evenly distributed.

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