Moravian Pound Cake
Submitted by kraken
Moravian Pound Cake
This is the pound cake that my mom used to make (and still does when I come visit), so it probably came from some long-gone recipe book. She referrs to it as "Moravian Pound Cake". Some have said that the use of nutmeg makes it Moravian. All I know for sure is that it's awesome.
This is not a light fluffy cake to be frosted and eaten in small amounts. No, this is a wonderful light-yet-dense cake that you'll have to fight yourself to keep from eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ok, maybe that's just me, but I love the hell out of this cake, and do often snag a piece on my way out in the morning if I've made it recently.
This recipe requires cooking skills such as "slowly add while mixing", so if you're a very novice cook, you may want a friend to help you out.
First, we gather the hardware and ingredients that we need.
- Large mixing bowl
- Medium-sized mixing bowl
- Flour sifter
- Cooling rack
- Rubber spatula
- Bundt pan (The round pan with the hole in the middle. If yours is new and nonstick, you can get away without greasing it. If not, spray the inside of the pan with some nonstick cooking spray such as Pam.)
- Electric mixer of some kind
- Toothpicks (not pictured)
- Oven, preheated to 350 degrees F (if you live halfway up to the moon in altitude, I have no idea what to tell you).
- 1 cup of softened butter (that's 2 sticks. To soften, leave it out on the counter for an hour or so. Do NOT melt it in the microwave or the like.)
- 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups flour
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
First, using the flour sifter and the smaller mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. You can put the first cup of flour in the sifter, then put the salt and baking powder on top, then the rest of the flour as you sift it into the bowl.
Once you're done, you'll be left with a bowl of sifted powder.
Put this bowl aside for now, we'll come back to it later.
Next, put the shortening and the softened butter into the large mixing bowl.
Using the electric mixer, beat the heck out of this greasy concoction until smooth. This will become a common theme during this recipe - at each step, take the time to ensure that the batter is mixed SMOOTHLY together. Lumps and inconsistencies are the devil. Use the spatula from time to time to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl back down into the bowl if needed (it's needed).
You'll be left with a butter and shortening mixture that looks like this,
Next, you're going to slowly add the sugar to the butter while mixing. Resist the urge to just dump the whole bowl in at once, patience is a virtue. If you don't have the coordination (or can't hold the bowl still) to slowly pour while mixing, pour maybe 1/4th of the sugar in at a time, ensuring that things get well blended in between adding more sugar. Mix it until it's as smooth as possible! When you're done, you'll be left with a sugary buttery mixture like this,
Now we're going to add the eggs - but wait, we're going to do it slowly! One at a time, add an egg to the batter, then mix well.
After adding each egg, you need to mix the hell out of the batter, making sure things stay nice and smooth. Sense a theme? When you're done with all 5 eggs, you'll have an eggy, sugary, buttery mixture that looks like this,
Now go find the bowl of flour mix that you stashed away earlier, and grab the cup of milk. What we're going to do is add a bit of flour and a bit of milk, then mix well.
Just do a bit of each at a time, and mix it oh so well in between. From time to time, use the spatula to scrape the sides back down so everything gets mixed well. When you've run out of flour and milk, and the batter is nice and beat all to hell, you'll have something that looks like this,
Finally, we're going to add the nutmeg and vanilla extract,
And then beat it like a redheaded stepchild until it's nice and smooth and creamy looking. Mmmmm.
Carefully fill your bundt pan (greased if you don't absolutely trust the non-stickiness of your pan) with the batter. Use the spatula to scoop every bit out of the bowl.
Smooth out the top a bit with the spatula.
Put your batter-soon-to-be-yummy-cake into the oven at 350 degrees F, and set a timer for 45 minutes.
While we wait, put a paper towel under the cooling rack on the counter, to be ready for our cake.
Oh gosh, I just can't wait, let's take a peek.
Now is a good time to go wash the dishes you used. You'll definitely want to rinse out the mixing bowl, as once the batter solidifies it's a pain in the ass to clean off.
Peeking in after a while,
So, the 45 minutes are up, what now? Well, we don't actually remove the cake from the oven just yet. Now we start poking it with a toothpick. If you've never used this method before, it's fairly simple. Take a clean toothpick, and poke the cake midway between the center and edge of the bunt pant. Jam that toothpick in there deep. Now pull it out. Is the toothpick dry and clean? If it is, the cake is ready. If there's batter or goop on the toothpick, or the toothpick is wet, we need more time. You almost certainly need longer than 45 minutes, but 45 minutes is a good time to start watching your cake more closely.
As you can (kind of) see from the goopy toothpick, our cake definitely needs more time.
At 5-7 minute intervals, check on the cake again. Poke it with a new toothpick. If it's clean, check several spots on the cake. Once the toothpick comes out clean everywhere, it's time to take the cake out of the oven. Total cooking time for my cake was just under 1 hour. Your cooking time may vary, depending on your oven, pan, and other variations. Use the toothpick, become one with the toothpick, love the toothpick. Oh yeah, don't use the goopy toothpick again. Get a clean one each time.
Ah, wonderful cake.
Now comes what just may be the hardest part. You can't touch it yet. Really! You need to walk away for 15 minutes to let the cake cool down. Resist the urge to remove it from the pan right away, all you'll do is end up with a pile of cake crumbs.
We come back 15 minutes later to find this. As you can see, the cake has fallen back a bit. That's normal, no worries there.
Now grab the pan using potholders (it's still really hot, really.) and quickly but carefully flip the bundt pan over onto the cooling rack. You need to do it quickly or the cake might fall out and break.
Now we just remove the bundt pan slowly (if you feel it catching, go easy on it) and voila!
All that's left at this point is to cut ourselves a slice, pour a nice tall glass of milk, and enjoy the hell out of it.
When you're not actively cutting a piece off the cake, put the bundt pan back over the top - it'll keep it from drying out so quickly. This cake is awesome by itself, or when used as a base for homemade strawberry shortcake, or any number of other things. Also, try sifting a bit of powdered sugar over the top for a bit of added sweetness!
It's just damn yummy.
Try adding 1/2 teaspoon of Lemon Extract along with the Nutmeg and Vanilla, if that floats your boat.