This might be a weird thing to admit, especially for a food writer, but I’m usually not into cake. Good cake is one thing, but it seems to have become standard issue for cakes to be over-iced and topped with all manner of decorations which taste like plastic (something that looks like chocolate just shouldn’t taste like plastic—it breaks my heart every single time!). There are of course exceptions—my cousin’s home-decorated cakes are phenomenal works of art and her butter cream recipe is amazing—but I cringe far too often when I see cakes brought out at events. I could even be described as wary when it comes to baking cake. My family (and Luke’s, fortunately) has a few tried and true recipes which are delicious, and even if they are full fat, at least you don’t also have to eat half a pound of icing sugar that someone’s piled on top—I firmly believe that cake should be good enough to stand on its own merit.
Okay, my griping over… pound cake is just one of those rich and versatile recipes that you can use for every day additions to lunchboxes, or serve up to guests to go with afternoon tea, or even during various holidays. It can be a stand-alone plain cake, or you can get creative and add various fruits or other fillings for a variety of options. I used up some kiwis and some frozen raspberries that were in my fridge in this recipe, but you could also use any number of fresh, frozen, or dried fruits for a unique cake. I’ve written out some variations that you could try at the end of the recipe.
Pound cakes, you’ll be happy know, keep very well covered at room temperature. Or, you can wrap a portion of the cake in heavy foil and freeze for up to a month. They get their name from the ingredients used—traditionally, a pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Nothing wrong with any of those ingredients! On with the cake…
Kiwi Raspberry Pound Cake
Cooking time: 30 minutes hands-on
- 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
- 1 package cream cheese (8 oz, 225 g), at room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups plain flour
- 5 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/3 cup frozen raspberries
Important Note: Make sure your butter (and preferably eggs, too) are at room temperature, as butter that is too warm will be too liquidy for this recipe. As there is no rising agent in this recipe, it’s important that air gets whipped into the butter, which is difficult to do if it’s too melted or too cold.
Preheat your oven to 325 F / 140 C. Grease a 10″ / 26 cm bundt pan… do not use anything smaller, as this is one big cake! A bigger pan would do, however. If you can want, you can slice up a kiwi and place it around the bottom of the bundt tin, as I did—the kiwi went a little dark, but it was more caramelizing in its juices & sugar than getting burned. Yum! This recipe would also do well with other kinds of fruit, should something be in season that you need to use up.
With an electric mixer (hand held or counter top) and in a very large bowl, blend together your butter and cream cheese until no lumps remain, and the mixture lightens slightly. Add your sugar slowly, beating it in until light and fluffy. Add your eggs, one or two at a time, beating well in between each addition. Add your extracts, nutmeg, and salt, mix well again. Begin to slowly add the flour and continue beating until well-combined and no lumps remain. Be sure to use a spatula and scrape down the sides of your bowl periodically, so that all the ingredients are mixed in evenly.
With a spatula, fold in the fruit just until well-dispersed throughout the batter. Scoop the batter into your greased pan, and be sure to smooth the top to ensure even baking.
Bake for about an hour and fifteen minutes. Check to ensure that the cake is baked through by inserting a knife or other sort of testing implement to see if it comes out clean. (I had to bake my cake for an extra 10 minutes.) Let cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.
Sprinkle your cake with a bit of icing sugar if need be for presentation, or just eat as-is! This is a very rich cake, so it really doesn’t need anything on top. It would go great with a bit more fresh fruit or a fruit sauce though, if you felt so inclined. Enjoy!
There are a few other flavouring combinations you could try, if you felt experimental:
- 2 cups of any fresh or frozen fruit (peaches, blueberry, raspberry, cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, etc.), or combinations thereof (omit almond extract and nutmeg)
- 1 cup raisins / sultanas, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/8 cup rum or brandy (omit almond extract and nutmeg, add 1 pinch cinnamon and 1/4 tsp maple extract if you have it)
- 1 cup each of candied red and green fruit for a Christmas-inspired cake
- 3 tbsp orange zest, 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks, and 3 tbsp triple sec (omit almond extract and nutmeg)
- 1 tin crushed pineapple pieces drained of juice, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, and about 3/4 cup of any other “tropical” fruit, such as mango, papaya, kiwi, etc. (again, omit almond extract and nutmeg, add a pinch of allspice)
- any other combination you can dream up! just keep the relative liquid and non liquid ingredients in check, or else you might have a bit of a disaster on your hands. do note that none of these have actually been tested, but they should turn out okay!