I've only recently discovered the excellent food community that is Food52. With columns like 'Genius Recipes' and 'For Goodness Cake', there is always new foodie stuff there to explore and experiment. My latest favourite on Food52 is a column called 'Back of the Box'. If, like me, you cut off recipes from custard powder boxes as a kid and swear by the chocolate cake recipe on Hershey's cocoa powder tin, you probably already know that grocery store packets can come up with some real gems. Food52 makes a practice of testing these recipes and showcasing the best of the lot.
So when they discovered this pound cake at the back of a brown sugar box, I instantly bookmarked it and even made it less than two weeks later. I have backlog of recipes that go back several years so for me, this is lightning speed. The cake was so simple and needed so few ingredients that it really intrigued me. It also turned out to be a fantastic cake - completely non-fussy and delicious all at the same time. I made the batter in my new kitchenaid stand mixer but it's totally doable by hand with a whisk or even a sturdy wooden spoon.
(for a 5X3 inch loaf pan; double the recipe for a standard 9 inch loaf pan)
100 grams butter - unsalted is good but I used Amul, left out of fridge for a few hours to soften
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Set the oven to preheat to 180C. Line a 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating the mixture after each egg. Add vanilla essence and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. If you are using unsalted butter, also add 1/4 tsp salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat until just combined.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. At this stage, the cake is ready to go into the oven but I couldn't let it be so plain and sprinkled some coarsely ground almonds on top. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then turn it out to cool completely on a cooling rack.
You can fancy up the cake with glazes and stuff but I found it just right as it is. Next time though, I'd mix in some more nuts or raisins to something to make the cake more interesting.