Baking Powder in Pound Cake


OK, I am still dithering about which recipe to make. Some have no "leavening" other than lots of eggs, well beaten (at least 6 minutes) with the sugar and butter. Others, like Maida Heatter's, call for baking powder (same recipe as KAF's Lemon Bliss Cake). A buttermilk version I found uses 1/4 teas baking soda instead of the 2 teas of baking powder of the above mentioned recipe. I just wondered how powdered leavenings affect texture and moistness? I hope KidPizza chimes in!
And I have decided to start with a bundt size cake because yesterday I bought one of those old aluminum covered cake keepers at a thrift store. Boy does THAT bring back memories to this Baby Boomer!

badge posted by: dachshundlady on April 17, 2012 at 7:24 am in Baking, desserts and sweets
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reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on April 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

Most pound cake recipes I've used don't call for leavener, or if they do, it's generally baking soda in a recipe with significant acidic component - say cocoa powder or buttermilk. The high acid ingredient activates the baking soda.

I'm not sure that a leavener has any direct effect on perceived moistness, but because it has an effect on texture, it may have an indirect effect on perceived moisture through the change in texture, which affects mouth feel.

Eggs have a leavening effect in a pound cake by providing aeration. A foam is created that supports the structure of the batter and, after baking, the cake. Steam is released to provide a further leavening effect. There's a really good description of the stages of baking in "How Baking Works" that describes this process - basically the leavening effect of the eggs takes place BEFORE the eggs "set up" (eg leavening occurs - air and steam expand in the batter and make the batter rise up - in the oven at a lower temperature, then when a higher temperature is reached the eggs set, locking the air bubbles in place). I forget which chapter it is, but it's really interesting to read.

Egg whites have a lot more foaming capability than whole eggs, but the structure is a lot more fragile when exposed to the heat of baking (hence the special mixing and handling methods to get the high loft and lightness of an angel food cake). While using whole eggs reduces the overall volume, the foam is a lot more stable.

Leaveners like baking soda and the acid salts (plus baking soda) in baking powder create higher volume in the batter than relying on the effect of eggs alone to create a foam, but at some point the use of additional leaveners makes the result NOT a pound cake anymore.

I don't know why they're using so much baking powder in the Lemon Bliss recipe - lemon oil doesn't have any citric acid in it so it shouldn't have any effect on starch development as actual lemon juice would. Maybe one of the KA bakers can answer that. It almost looks more angel-food-cakey than actually pound-cakey, but I can't tell for sure just from pictures, LOL!

reply by: dachshundlady on April 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thank you, ZS. I was hesitant to start with a recipe with baking powder or soda so I made Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake from Baking in America by Greg Patent. It called for 2 more eggs than the KAF Lemon Bliss Cake and sour cream instead of milk. As mentioned, no powder or soda. It rose just beautifully. The only problem I had was too much batter for my Cathedral style bundt pan. I think it is a 10 cup and his recipe is for a 12 cup. I tried to read the bottom of my pan with glasses AND a magnifying glass and still don't know. The number seems almost scraped off. So I filled mine within 2" of the top and filled 3 mini bundts. Next time I will do some mini loaf pans and fill my bundt 3" from top. I ate one of the bundt's already (as I have learned here-quality control). Just delicious. The recipe has a lemon juice/sugar glaze you put on the hot cake. Texture is lovely too. Soft, tender, fine. I would make this again. The real test will be how it holds up, moisture wise, over the next few days.

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on April 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

Yum! Sounds delicious! I was thinking of making Lemon Cloud Cake yesterday, but when presented with the choice between that, a Red Velvet Cake, a double chocolate cake, and the Persian Love cake, my son went for the RVC.

It came out pretty well - a litte more crumbly than I would like but very moist. I had added an extra egg yolk and I think that was not needed. Sometimes too much yolk can make a cake crumbly like that. Not dry crumbly, but sort of too soft. Flavor is good though. It was too much batter for 2 8" layers - my next iteration of that recipe will be cut by about 1/6th for a single 6" layer. Everytime I try a new cake recipe I'll do the full recipe first to check my volume-to-weight estimations and see just how much batter it makes, then I'll cut the recipe down to the single 6" layer so I can keep testing the recipe without turning us all fat and having to eat entire cakes, LOL!

I'm still not happy with any frosting I've ever made. This time that cooked buttercream frosting came out tasting more of butter than last time, I'm not sure why. I had intended to try it with 1/2 Crisco and 1/2 butter and forgot. I'll try to remember next time to cut that, but I've not been happy with the vegetable shortening in frosting since they sucked the trans-fats out of Crisco.

reply by: dachshundlady on April 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I went online and found that my bundt pan is the Bavaria 10 cup (read: more freakin' grooves to clean than any other pan on the planet). But LUCKILY I had finally tried the much touted "pan grease" and the cake came right out. I may just try to cut down the recipe by a third(original calls for 6 eggs) so I won't have to mess with extra pans. I also noticed that this recipe has more butter and sugar than the KAF one. Naturally it is soooo good. Like it better than the cream cheese pound cake I made a couple years ago. But just about anything lemon tastes better to me than vanilla or even marble.

reply by: swirth on April 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I knew your pan was the Bavaria and I love, love, love that pan!

I've had more orders for cakes baked in that pan than any other...folks just love the look of the cakes baked in it.

And the pan grease just seals the deal using that pan.

Glad you had a great cake result!

reply by: dachshundlady on April 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Yes, cakes baked in the Bavaria are just stunning. Thanks to the pan grease it was so much easier to clean this time too. But more importantly, the cake fell right out. I put the extra grease in the fridge. Do you bring it to room temp or use cold?

reply by: swirth on April 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I use it room temp as it spreads better to my way of thinking. A lady that used to post on the oldBC had her bread stick all the time in cast iron bread pans and I got her started on the pan grease and she said the bread slid out of the pans...she was so happy!

reply by: dachshundlady on April 18, 2012 at 7:22 am

There's nothing more discouraging than spending the time and ingredients and having something stick in the pan and then look awful.

reply by: HerBoudoir on April 19, 2012 at 6:52 am

Too funny.....around Christmas, I baked a bundt cake for my husband to take to his work Christmas party. I hadn't used my large bundt for quite a while but HAD been using a lot of nonstick bakeware in my bread baking. So when I saw the dark finish on bundt, I thought, "right...nonstick!"

Ummm not so much. I'm sure the wildlife enjoyed that particular cake as I dumped big chunks of it out in the yard.

FYI - if the pan is particularly grotty after using and it's not non-stick, the dishwasher does wonders at getting out all the leftover crud.

Fortunately when using pan grease, a standard hot water/soap soak gets out anything left behind.

With regards to leavener, my standard pound cake recipe does use baking powder. I really like the flavor/texture of if, and it's quite forgiving to adding a couple teaspoons of lemon juice or otherwise playing around with flavorings (lemon is a favorite in the summer; orange spice in the winter; cherry amaretto any time). I browsed through a couple other pound cake recipes I have (I have entirely too many baking books) and have found that there's all sorts of variations, from a "Southern" pound cake with heavy cream in it (quite good really) to one that has you whip the egg whites separately (didn't bother) to one that calls for a couple T of potato starch (pass!). So while it may not be 100% authentic, I'll stick with the baking powder recipe.

reply by: dachshundlady on April 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Your lucky wildlife!! I was afraid to put this beautiful pan in the dishwasher. It is NordicWare "non stick" heavy cast aluminum. I googled it and it said dishwasher safe but one person warned to not use dishwasher. So I soaked and then scrubbed with one if those Teflon safe scrubbers with dish soap in the handle.

reply by: HerBoudoir on April 20, 2012 at 7:04 am

Yeah, I don't put them in the dishwasher in general. I have a lot of various sizes (ok...I'm kind of addicted to them) of the fancy bundt pans, and hand washing IS the best option.

However. There are those days (especially when a lemon bliss cake ends up in the back garden) that IF putting said pan in the dishwasher to get clean ruined it and meant I'd have to shell out $25 for a new one rather than soaking and scrubbing...then soak and scrub some more...then try to use qtips to get in the ridges....then drink a bottle of wine to get over the trauma.... Yeah. Dishwasher.

We've all had those days LOL

reply by: dachshundlady on April 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I hear ya. In those situations I say to myself: "How much would it be worth to not have to . . ." Usually I opt for the path of least resistance even if it means shelling out a few coins.

reply by: MangoChutney - Sandra Too on April 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm
MangoChutney - Sandra Too

I remember those aluminum-covered cake keepers. They always had CAKE embossed on the side, as if we might instead be keeping a small spare tire in the kitchen. Also, there was always one small dent in the curved portion.

I had a clear plastic-covered one once but the bad thing about plastic is that it cracks when it is dropped, instead of denting.

reply by: swirth on April 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm

When I use the Bavaria bundt pan, or any of the others for that matter, and use the pan grease, as soon as I remove the cake, I add a generous squirt of dish liquid and fill with hot, hot water (from tea kettle if I have it) to the brim and let soak a good while and use a sponge to finish the cleaning...very minimal labor required and cleans right up nicely.

reply by: dachshundlady on April 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I have a clear plastic one too! The original blue plastic fitted cake plate cracked so I tossed it. But I still use the clear one for bigger cakes placed on a big plate.