This recipe has been in my family for decades. My mum got it from her mum, and grandma must have learnt all the details from her mother. It’s a real tradition that runs in my family to bake it twice a year, once around Easter and then for Christmas.
I remember quite vividly that as a child I would sneak to the kitchen well after bed time and watch my mum mixing all the ingredients. She always liked to bake after me and my sister went to bed, which was adding a mysterious and quite magical appeal to the entire operation. Now I understand that it was mostly because when the house got finally quiet she could indulge in other activities than keeping an eye on us. However, the time of the day and all the proceedings seemed to be very special.
This cake was always made manually, with no help of electric tools. My mum would take a makitra, clay mixing bowl finely ribbed on the inside, and start from working out butter with sugar. The sound of wooden ball utensil rubbing butter and crushing sugar against the edges of the bowl will stay with me forever. After 20 minutes of vigorous mixing, the batter would gain desired, fluffy consistency. Trust me, to get to this point it was already quite an effort and achievement at the same time.
Next, all other ingredients would find their way to the bowl; flour, raising agent and the most important of them all- almond extract. Thanks to that fragrant liquid the cake gets truly irresistible aroma. And I mean it when I say irresistible. As a little girl I was enchanted by this transparent liquid to the point that I couldn’t comprehend that something of such a divine smell could taste any different. Convinced of its delicious taste I downed entire phial at once. Let me tell you, that was very bitter experience.
When all the ingredients are nicely combined, it’s not all over yet. It is time for baking. Hold on, this cake is not baked, it’s cooked! This is a part of the show where a special baking/cooking tin has its 5 minutes in the spotlight. With all honesty I do not know whether they still produce such things. Our baking mould has its years and despite great effort my mum cannot find proper replacement for it. Most probably there are some new, smart inventions that ousted it from the shelves. However, I strongly believe that it’s thanks to this mould that cake comes out so moist and spongy.
Original Recipe Pound Cake
all-purpose flour- 1 cup
starch- 1 cup
caster sugar- 1 cup
butter- 200 g
eggs- 4 medium size
baking powder- 2 tsp
almond extract- 1 tsp
cocoa- 1/2 cup (skip this one if you want plain cake)
1. You can either do it manually or use electric mixer to make it quicker.
In a medium size bowl mix butter of a room temperature and sugar. Stir until well combined and smooth.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and starch in, add 2 eggs and whisk together. Once eggs are incorporated add another two and keep whisking for about 3 minutes.
3. Pour almond extract and stir the batter again.
4. Pour batter into well greased cooking mould (If you want to make two- coloured cake, pour only a half of it in. Add cocoa to the remaining part and whisk until well combined. Next, just pour it on the top of white batter.)
5. Seal the mould with its lid and put into a big pan with boiling water. Keep on a medium fire (so that you can still hear the bobbles of boiling water) for an hour.
6. Once time is up, take the mould out, open it and put upside down immediately. The cake should literally jump out of the cooking tin. You can give it a gentle pat if it gets a bit shy 😉
7. Decorate with melted chocolate and powder sugar- you can get creative! Enjoy!
I could say nothing but compliments about this cake. It’s the taste of my childhood. And still, to this day, my favourite part of the entire making process is scooping the leftover batter with my fingers and eating it so that no-one can see.