Anna Mintz is a Senior Publicist for Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, and is an editor for The Recipe Club. Originally from Atlanta, she now lives in New York City and loves exploring NYC’s restaurant scene and trying out new recipes in her own kitchen.
I decided to bake Honey Vanilla Pound Cake from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (Clarkson Potter, 2008) for my roommate Mary’s birthday last weekend. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but pound cake is one of those delectable desserts that I can never turn down. The birthday girl just so happens to love honey-flavored desserts, so I knew this would be a winning combination from the always-trustworthy Barefoot Contessa.
This was one of the best pound cakes I’ve had — homemade or not! A great Barefoot Contessa tip was to use “cool room temperature” butter (allow the butter to sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to achieve this), which makes all the difference in the texture of this pound cake. The recipe also calls for cake flour (rather than all-purpose flour), which gives the cake a silky-smooth and light feel. It was absolutely delicious, and my only regret was that there weren’t any leftovers for the birthday girl to enjoy over coffee the next morning!
Honey Vanilla Pound Cake
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Makes one 8-inch loaf
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.