For whatever ridiculous reason that I can't figure out, I've always had a kind of totally unjustified prejudice against pound cake: I always expect it to be dry and hard and bland.
Maybe my mom made a really dry, bland pound cake once? Maybe I saw a cartoon as a child depicting a character being hit over the head with a loaf of rock-hard pound cake?
Maybe it's subconsciously connected with a traumatic experience from my childhood, like that one day when we went swimming, and I tried to follow my older sister as she swam across the deep end, but I couldn't make it and almost drowned, and the life guard had to jump in and pull me out, and she banished me to the kiddie pool for the rest of the afternoon. That day. Maybe we went home and... ate dry, bland pound cake... for some reason.
So, this aversion is entirely unreasonable, as I've loved pretty much every bite of homemade pound cake which I've encountered, for as long as I can remember. But my eyebrow still raised a bit as I pulled up this recipe on Epicurious. I coaxed myself into hitting the print button, repeating over and over that this cake would be soft and moist and flavorful, and that I wouldn't repent the day I created it. And I was right.
This cake is one of those that gives the house a captivating aroma that you wish you could package up and send to the candle factory so that you can have it around your house every day. There was more than once, while it was baking, when I had to resist the urge to call up my husband at work to say, "Hey! Get a load of this smell!" And then I realized, oh yeah. It just doesn't work that way. Heh.
Orange Spice Pound Cake
adapted from Gourmet Magazine
For the cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a fluted tube (bundt) pan. Stir cake flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl to blend. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, orange peel, and spices until light and creamy. Mix in vanilla extract. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with milk in 3 additions.
Spoon batter into pan. Smooth top. Bake until tester inserted near center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. Turn out onto platter (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature).
Mix powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Drizzle or brush glaze over cake. Let stand until glaze sets, about 30 minutes.