This week was my first venture into making pound cake from scratch. My coworker, Kelley, a baking aficionado, gave me some great tips on achieving pound cake perfection as well as sharing some of her favorite pound cake recipes with me.
I chose to make a sour cream pound cake, which I was planning take to a party on Sunday evening. I did make
the cake and it turned out very moist, dense and delicious, just as it should be. I decided to kick it up a few notches and come up with a trifle recipe using the cake and some of my frozen Crabtree Farm blackberries. I also had quite a few lemons on hand, so I googled for trifle recipes using lemon and blackberries. I found Bobby Flay's recipe for Gingerbread and Lemon Curd Trifle with Blackberry Sauce and adapted it using the ingredients I had on hand.
Instead of gingerbread, of course I used the Sour Cream Pound Cake I'd made. Instead of purchased lemon curd, I made my own using the recipe for the lemon curd filling in my favorite Classic Lemon Tart recipe from America's Test Kitchen.
The result was a delicious summer treat that was a great hit at the party. There were probably 35 to 40 people there and every bite was eaten. Trifles are one of my favorite desserts and one of my favorite to make because they result in such a beautiful presentation. And the slightly tart lemon cream was a nice change from the traditional vanilla custard used in most trifles. The pound cake was so sweet alone (3 cups of sugar) that it didn't need to be topped with a super sweet custard.
On to pound cake tips and recipes. I will offer substitution suggestions below as making this entire dessert from scratch is very time consuming. It would still be a delicious dessert when using a few shortcuts.
Kelley's Tips for the Perfect Pound Cake:
1. Always use real butter. Do not substitute margarine.
2. Ingredients should be at room temperature.
3. Add wet and dry ingredients alternately a little at a time to the creamed mixture (egg, flour, egg, flour, etc.)
4. Do not disturb the cake until specified baking time has been met, then check with toothpick or cake tester inserted in center to check doneness. (If your oven bakes hot, you may want to start checking 5-10 minutes before baking time has elapsed.)
5. Do not overbake!
6. Let pan cool for 15 minutes before turning out cake.
RECIPE: Blackberry Lemon Cream Trifle
Serves 12 to 15
1/2 Sour Cream Pound Cake (see recipe below), cut into 1 inch cubes or use storebought pound cake
1 recipe Lemon Curd (see recipe below) or use two 11 oz. jars lemon curd
2 cups heavy whipping cream, sweetened with sugar and vanilla and beaten to soft peaks
1 recipe Blackberry Sauce (see recipe below)
Fold lemon curd with whipping cream. Cover bottom of trifle bowl with cake cubes. Pour 1/3 of lemon cream over cake, then pour 1/3 of blackberry sauce over lemon cream. Repeat 2 more times. Chill for 4 hours or overnight and serve.
RECIPE: Sour Cream Pound Cake
1/2 lb. unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3 cups sugar
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 t. baking soda
6 eggs (at room temperature)
3 cups sifted cake flour or White Lily all purpose flour (I didn't sift, just poured into a bowled and whisked to break up any clumps)
Preheat oven to 325º. Grease and flour a nonstick bundt cake pan.
Cream butter, add sugar. Combine baking soda and sour cream. Add to butter and sugar mixture and beat well.
Add 2 eggs, 1 cup of flour...2 eggs, 1 cup of flour, etc. Mix well.
Mix in vanilla.
Pour into greased and floured cake pan. Bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick or cake tester in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, remove from the oven. If it doesn't come out clean, continue baking, checking for doneness every few minutes. (Total baking time in my oven was 1 1/2 hours.)
RECIPE: Lemon Curd (copied directly from America's Test Kitchen's Classic Lemon Tart Recipe)
7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice from 4 to 5 medium lemons
1/4 cup grated lemon zest
pinch table salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place tart pan with shell on cookie sheet.
2. In medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer mixture to medium non-reactive saucepan, add butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until curd thickens to thin saucelike consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour curd through single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in heavy cream; pour curd into warm tart shell immediately.
3. Bake until filling is shiny and opaque and until the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove outer metal ring, slide thin metal spatula between bottom crust and tart pan bottom to release, then slip tart onto cardboard round or serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.
RECIPE: Blackberry Sauce (Adapted from Food Network Recipe)
2 pints fresh blackberries, or 1 bag frozen blackberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Chambord (or other raspberry liqueur)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Place blackberries, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and cook until the berries are soft and the sugar has melted. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a bowl. Stir in the Chambord and lemon juice. Set aside until ready to use.