As may be evident by my recent posts, I’ve baked hardly a thing this summer. It’s been lovely and blissful, in its own way, to not turn the oven on. Instead I’ve thrown all that energy I would for baking into making ice cream and other frozen treats. (I have one more frozen treat recipe to share, for now.) One of the last things I baked before the summer heat settled in was Shirley’s perfect pound cake.
It’s a tall order to call something perfect and this pound cake is just so. In a chat on Twitter that I had with Shirley the first time I made her recipe, she told me that one of her readers had used it to make a birthday cake. So not only is it a perfect pound cake, but also perfect for all occasions as it is flexible. Like many gluten-free folks, Shirley uses a custom-made, gluten-free flour blend. I’ve yet to use a gluten-free flour blend – whether one made from scratch with someone’s recipe or my own, or store-bought – so I converted the amount with an equal ratio of cornstarch and brown rice flour (the only kind of rice flour I had on hand at the time), based on Shirley’s flour blend, and it worked really well.
Every time I’ve made it, the pound cake has been finished within one or two days (usually only making it to the second day if I’ve saved some and hidden it away).
If you’re SCD or following a grain-free diet, you may wish to take a look at this pound cake made with almond flour. It tastes exactly the same. Shirley has also posted another pound cake recipe, in the form of cupcakes, that has blueberries and uses coconut flour.
Shirley’s Perfect for All Occasions Pound Cake
Adapted slightly from gluten-free easily
You may find that the batter for the pound cake is thick, like cake batter. If the only olive oil you have on hand is extra virgin, use a lighter or neutral tasting oil such as grapeseed, which I used. Some readers in the comment thread on Shirley’s original post had used extra virgin and the flavour was too strong. (I’m not sure if virgin olive oil is fine to use for this recipe.)
If you want to make a crack down the middle of the pound cake, follow these steps that I picked up from Ruth Reichl: When the cake is just starting to develop a crust (the top will feel dry to the touch) after about ten minutes, remove from the oven and run a sharp knife dipped with melted butter or coconut oil straight down the middle lengthwise and return to the oven, continuing to bake until down.
Makes 1 or 2 loaves
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup light olive oil or grapeseed oil
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 medium or large eggs
2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Blend the cornstarch, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder together in a medium sized bowl.
Pour the grapeseed oil into a large bowl and mix with the honey and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in coconut milk.
Add the blended dry ingredients to the wet and mix until you have a thick and stiff batter.
Pour the batter into the lined load pan and use a spatula to scrape all the batter out. Use the spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
Bake for 10 minutes. When the cake is just starting to develop a crust (the top will feel dry to the touch), remove from oven and run a sharp knife dipped with melted butter or coconut oil straight down the middle lengthwise. Melt a little bit of butter or coconut oil and dip a sharp knife into it. Return to oven and bake for 40 minutes more, or until golden brown. (If you don’t care about having a perfect crack down the middle of your finished pound cake, let it just bake for 50 minutes.)
Remove pound cake from oven and cool before serving. Wrap any leftovers or store in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.