Around 1912, my grandfather was a preteen part-time helper with the local bakery in Heacham. England. He left to come to Canada in 1914, so I say around. One of his jobs was assistance with the making of pound cake. The bakery made plain and almond varieties. As he told the story, the only difference between the two was the half blanched almond that went on top of some pans and the ha’penny extra that as charged because of it.
Pound cake is a simple loaf style slice with simple flavours, often just vanilla. This recipe includes a bit of tangy moistness from the yoghurt, a warmer sweetness from the golden sugar and a deeper flavour from the spice. If cardamon is not your first choice, there is no reason that cinnamon, five spice or apple pie spice can not be substituted. Maybe even pumpkin pie spice in the fall. Just make sure to keep to the tablespoon.
I often think of these kinds of recipes as Imbolc recipes as they really are, by today’s standards, made from just the basics. Centuries ago though, this simple recipe would not have been possible then, due to the lack of fresh eggs until sometime after Ostara.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup and 3 Tbsp. Golden sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. ground cardamon
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt or sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Shift your center of attention. Let go of the “to do” list. (It will be there waiting when the cake is in the oven.) Release the nigglies of the day as well. Be able to feel the joy and peace of being truly in the present moment. Take a deep breath, hold, release and repeat. Begin.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and then flour a standard 5 x 9 inch loaf tin, ensuring the corners are included. Put aside.
In British Columbia we have been seeing a change in our butter over this past winter. It is firmer and takes longer to beat fluffy. For that reason I am taking butter out of the fridge and making sure it is room temperature before doing any baking where butter is a part of the flavour.
Greek yoghurt is not a traditional ingredient in pound cake (neither is golden sugar or cardamon for that matter) but it does give an extra bit of moistness to the final product. If there is regular yoghurt in the house, letting it drip for about 30 minutes, so the whey separates from the milk solids will work as well. Sour cream is an alternate option but I had just finished up a batch of yoghurt and used that.
Beat the butter and golden sugar together until fluffy, then add the vanilla and eggs as shown in the picture above. Mix well.
Sift the dry ingredients over the wet mixture. I used the beaters without turning them on to combine everything. Mixing until just mixed is the plan and that can also be achieved by turning the hand mixer on just just a few turns.
Scrape down the batter and transfer to the prepared loaf pan. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, checking for doneness at 50 minutes with a toothpick or knitting needle. The edges should be coming away from the side, the center top will be firm and the needle will come out clean.
Place the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before removing the cake and letting it cool completely. Running a knife between the cake and the form before tipping the pan will help release the cake. Pop on the kettle.
This is a simple pound cake that will travel well in lunch boxes and goes well with a cup of coffee.