cookbooks

Butter Cakes. Recipe

Butter cakes, also known as pound cakes, have a rich and delicious history that dates back centuries. The recipe has evolved over time, but the simplicity and elegance of this classic treat have remained constant. These dense, moist cakes are made with equal quantities of butter and sugar, resulting in a buttery and indulgent dessert.

The origins of the butter cake can be traced back to Europe, where it was traditionally made with one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. However, variations of the recipe have developed over time to suit different tastes and preferences. The name "pound cake" comes from the original recipe, which used a pound of each ingredient.

In this modern version of butter cakes, we will use half a pound of butter and half a pound of sugar. This recipe makes two small cakes, so feel free to adjust the quantities depending on your needs. To add a burst of flavor, we will grate the rind of a lemon and incorporate a touch of cinnamon. The flour will be added gradually to form a smooth and pliable dough.

Let's get started on making these delectable butter cakes:

Ingredients:
- 1/2 pound of butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 pound of sugar
- Rind of 1 lemon (grated)
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- Candied orange or lemon peel (for garnish)

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare two small cake pans by greasing and flouring them.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You can use an electric mixer or beat the ingredients by hand.

3. Add the grated lemon rind and cinnamon to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until well combined.

4. Gradually add the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky. If it feels too dry, you can add a tablespoon of milk to bring it together.

5. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually add the beaten eggs to the dough, mixing well after each addition. The eggs will help bind the dough together and create a moist texture.

6. Once the dough is fully mixed, transfer it to a floured surface and gently knead it for a minute or two. This will help distribute the ingredients evenly and create a smooth dough.

7. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll out each portion to fit the size of your cake pans. Trim any excess dough if necessary.

8. Place the rolled out dough into the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Optional: For added decoration, you can press a piece of candied orange or lemon peel into the center of each cake.

9. Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for approximately 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The cakes should be golden brown and firm to the touch.

10. Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Butter cakes are perfect for any occasion, whether it's a casual afternoon tea or a special celebration. Their simplicity makes them versatile, and they can be served plain or adorned with whipped cream, fresh berries, or a dusting of powdered sugar. These cakes also have a great shelf life and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, making them a convenient and delicious treat.

Fun Fact: The term "pound cake" has a historical significance. The original recipe used a pound of each ingredient, making it easy to remember and measure. This simplicity led to widespread popularity, and pound cakes became a staple in many households.

Similar recipe dishes that you might enjoy include the French Madeleines, a small shell-shaped cake made with butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Another delightful option is the classic Victoria sponge cake, a British favorite made with equal quantities of butter, sugar, eggs, and self-rising flour. These variations offer unique flavors and textures while still capturing the essence of the butter cake.

So, the next time you are in the mood for a rich and buttery delight, try making these butter cakes. With their timeless appeal and satisfying taste, they are sure to become a favorite treat for you and your loved ones. Enjoy!

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