This "Kerrygold Butter Pound Cake" was originally supposed to be Imperial Pound Cake, a vintage pound cake made with margarine. I did indeed bake the margarine version and it was surprisingly great. Despite the tight crumbed, soft, dense, texture, I couldn't post the margarine recipe without trying it again using butter. The butter version was even better.
The margarine version, which was originally made in a tube pan but which I halved, had a texture similar to a Sara Lee pound cake and a very evenly browned crust. This photo shows the margarine version.
But even with the nice texture, I really missed the flavor of butter and didn't care for the palm oil flavor of the margarine. Again, here's another photo of the margarine version. I was very happy with its shape. Too bad about the flavor.
Kerrygold Pound Cake vs. Imperial
The flavor of the butter pound cake (pictured below) was better than the flavor of the margarine pound cake and also had a texture similar to Sara Lee's. As far as brands of butter go, I chose Kerrygold because it has a lovely yellow hue, enough salt so that you don't need to add any to the recipe, and because it's widely available. In the future I might try this same recipe with other high end butters like Somerdale English, Plugra, Lurpak or one Vermont Creamery. I may go broke, though. Have you seen the price of butter lately? It spiked this week.
Gluey Streaks in Pound Cake
Anyhow, here's a picture of the sliced butter version. With both cakes, I got small patches of little gluey streaks which King Arthur attributes to over-creaming. I really did beat the heck out of the butter and egg mixture and used high when I probably should have used medium speed. I think I was trying to compensate for the lack of baking powder. That said, the streaks don't bother me much.
Update: Imperial Pound Cake
I recommend making this cake with butter, but if you are curious to see how Imperial will work out and want to try it with margarine, you can. Imperial seems to have been reformulated and has more water in it (only 60 calories per T). I baked the cake with Imperial and it had a nice shape, but an odd texture. Not terrible, but dense and kind of gummy. So if you want to test with margarine, try using one that has at least 80% fat (90 to 100 cal per T). Or just stick with butter.
Kerrygold Butter Pound Cake
- 8 ounces salted Kerrygold or other good European style butter cool room temperature
- ½ pound confectioner’s sugar (about 1 ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons or 230 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or good quality vanilla
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups cake flour (170 grams)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease and flour an 8x4 inch loaf pan. I like to lay a strip of parchment down the center for easy lifting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, beat the butter until creamy and smooth.
- Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until creamy, scraping sides of bowl often. Add the vanilla and beat until well blended.
- Add one of the eggs and beat on low until incorporated, then increase speed and beat on medium for 30 seconds or until smooth. Repeat, adding second and third eggs one at a time and beating until smooth (about 30 to 40 seconds after each egg is mixed).
- Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and sift in the flour. Stir with a heavy duty scraper until flour is incorporated into the batter, then put the bowl back on the mixer stand and beat with the paddle for about 10 to 20 seconds to ensure the flour is completely blended.
- The batter should be fairly thick. Spread it evenly in the pan.
- Bake in lower third of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (check at 60) or until cake is brown and crusty and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
- Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, then loosen the sides gently without removing from the pan. Let it cool in the pan for another half hour or so, then remove from the pan and let cool for several hours. For a more Sara Lee like texture, wrap the completely cooled pound cake in plastic and freeze overnight. Let thaw, then slice.