When it comes to pound cake, I’m something of a purist. A plain sour cream or buttermilk version is fine by me, and if it’s good enough (usually meaning if one of my accomplished aunts has made it), no additional toppings or ice cream is needed.
So when my Southern Living magazine subscription‘s March 2011 issue arrived celebrating seven (yes, seven) versions of this delicious classic, I was intrigued. How can the plain old good stuff get better?
Southern Living’s “Seven Perfect Pound Cakes” included: Buttermilk Pound Cake With Custard Sauce, Amaretto-Almond Pound Cake, Sauvignon Blanc Pound Cake, Lemon-Coconut Pound Cake Loaf, Pound Cake With Balsamic Strawberries and Basil Whipped Cream, Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake, and Key Lime Pound Cake With Key Lime Glaze.
Who knew there could be so many variations? I’m not necessarily opposed to the addition of a little more flavor to my seeming vanilla tastes. Being a lover of strawberries, cream cheese and of course pound cake, the Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake made for the ideal trifecta–and a pretty darn good cover too.
From-scratch cakes can be time-consuming (which is what makes them so good, right?). But this one seemed easier, maybe because I let my trusty stand mixer do a lot of the work. The recipe even specifies the use of a “heavy-duty electric stand mixer”–and with good reason. By the time the flour (the last major ingredient) is added, the batter becomes very thick.
Using the stand mixer also allows you to move through the process hands-free, and measuring out all the butter, sugar and flour beforehand just makes it that much smoother. As my KitchenAid incorporated each addition, I was able to open the cream cheese package or crack the eggs when called for, all without interrupting our efficient teamwork.
With the batter ready, I added it as directed to the pan in layers, then topped it with spoonfuls of strawberry glaze that was swirled using a toothpick or wooden skewer. Once in the oven, it baked for about an hour and cooled for about an hour after that.
After being tempted by the delicious aroma for nearly two hours, a taste-test was long overdue, and I couldn’t help but sneak a (tiny) slice as a late-night snack. It was everything I want in a pound cake–sweet, moist, a little crunchy on the bottom–but this time with the added bonus of strawberry flavor.