Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 10 mins
From the Cook's Illustrated Website: Be careful not to overbeat the butter-sugar mixture, especially on a hot day -- you could rupture the air cells and cause the batter to be heavy. It's important to beat in the eggs very slowly. If you don't think you can pace yourself, set a timer or watch the clock. When you are folding in the flour, fold up from the very bottom of the bowl, otherwise some of the batter will have little flour in it, and this will either rise to the surface, never cooking through, or settle in hard, dense streaks near the bottom of the cake. You may double the recipe and bake the cake in a large nonstick bundt pan (14 cup capacity); the baking time remains the same. The recipe also makes four miniature pound cakes; use four two-cup pans and reduce baking time to 40 minutes. Though best when freshly baked, the cake will keep reasonably well for 4 to 5 days.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (8 ounces)
- 1 1⁄3 cups granulated sugar (9 ounces)
- 3 large eggs (5.25 ounces, without the shells)
- 3 large egg yolks (2 ounces)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups cake flour (7 ounces)
- Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3 1/2-inch loaf pan (7 1/2-inch capacity) with vegetable shortening or spray. Line the bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper.
- Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer set at medium-high speed until smooth and shiny, about 15 seconds. With machine still on, take about 30 seconds to sprinkle in sugar. Beat mixture until light, fluffy and almost white, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping mixer once or twice to scrape down sides of bowl.
- Mix eggs, yolks, vanilla and water in a 2 cup glass measure with a pour spout, set in a pan of tepid water until mixture is about 70 degrees. With mixer set at medium-high speed, take 3 to 5 minutes to add egg mixture to butter/sugar mixture in a very slow, thin stream. Finally, beat in salt.
- Remove bowl from mixer stand. Turn 1/2 cup flour into sieve or shaker; sprinkle it over batter. Fold gently with rubber spatula, scraping up from bottom of the bowl, until flour is incorporated. Repeat twice more, adding flour in 1/2-cup increments.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with a spatula or wooden spoon. Bake until cake needle or tester inserted into crack running along top comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes. Let cake rest in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Place second wire rack on cake bottom, then turn cake top side up. Cool to room temperature, remove and discard parchment, wrap cake in plastic, then in foil. Store cake at room temperature.