pound cake

My Perfect Tar Heel Pound Cake

  • Crisco shortening for greasing pan, plus ½ cup, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 3 cups
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Generously grease a 10-inch tube pan with shortening, add the 2 tablespoons of flour, turn the pan to coat evenly with flour, tap off the excess, and set aside. (Or spray the insides of the pan generously with a cooking spray.) In a bowl, combine the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt; stir until thoroughly blended; and set aside. Pour the milk into a large glass or small bowl, add the 3 extracts, stir till well blended, and set aside.

In a standing mixer, combine the butter, remaining shortening, and sugar, and cream the mixture at medium-low speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, beating about 15 seconds before adding another, and scrape sides of the bowl (do not overbeat). In batches, alternately add the flour and milk and beat just till the batter is smooth and silky. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and firmly tap the pan on a counter to allow batter to settle evenly. Bake in the center of the oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, never opening the oven door. Carefully transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan about 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely before slicing. Store the cake in a tightly covered cake plate up to 5 days (never in the refrigerator). Serves 10 to 15.

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Villas has published 15 cookbooks, four literary books on gastronomy, and two novels set in the South. His cookbook Pig: King of the Southern Table won the James Beard Journalism Award for 2010. His latest cookbook is Southern Fried: More Than 150 Recipes for Crab Cakes, Fried Chicken, Hush Puppies, and More.

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