Mention the word “poundcake” and it conjures up images of the version made by Sara Lee that my mother would serve when I was a kid. I can still see the packaging: the red and white logo, the foil tray. Once opened, it had a sweet buttery scent and flavor — and probably weighed a good pound or two.
The “pound” in poundcake comes from early recipes in which the ingredients were one pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. These ingredients were easy to remember – especially for those who were unable to read.
This recipe, however, is a lot tastier that the ones of yore. The addition of clementines gives it a wonderful perfume and the zest gives it an incredible orange flavor.
Cardamom is an ancient and flavorful spice from India. It is used throughout the Middle East in cooking and as an addition to coffee. In Europe, it is used to season baked goods. The cardamom in this poundcake gives it an intense aroma and a uniquely sweet flavor.
When I made this a few months ago and brought it into the office it was gone in the blink of an eye. It’s that good.
If you don’t have clementines, then oranges are fine, as are lemons. Although, I would use Meyer lemons, which are sweeter and are somewhat of a cross between a lemon and a tangerine.
Let the cake cool entirely before cutting. It also freezes very well.
- 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon clementine zest, from about 2 clementines
- 4 tablespoons clementine juice, from about 2 clementines
- 1/4 cup milk
Heat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3″ loaf pan.
Cream the butter, olive oil and sugars together until smooth. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until completely blended.
Stir in 1 cup of the flour, followed by the salt, vanilla, cardamom, clementine zest and juice.
Add the milk and the rest of the flour. Beat until the batter is smooth and consistent, but do not over-beat. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the cake to release it from the pan, and flip onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.