Regency Refreshments: Pound Cake
Most of us have had pound cake, so I approached this as more of an experiment to discover the true flavor of the Georgian version. The original recipes look remarkably similar, with the exception of the addition of various spices, which seems to be a commonality among cakes of all sorts from the period. If currants are added (and they seem to have liked to add dried currants to nearly all their cakes) the recipe become nearly identical to that of Royal Cakes or Queen Cakes (The Universal Cook, 1806).
A “quick” oven is a hot oven, as opposed to a “slack” oven, which indicates medium heat. In looking at the temperatures required for modern recipes I don’t see any real difference, though. Most cakes are baked at around 350º, with a few requiring 400 º - 425 º. These do not, however, align with the period notions of which cakes take slack and which take quick.
Some recipes also call for “wine”, which is not further defined. I decided to use sherry, as that was a common wine and it is often used in cakes today. Other than that, I simply started with a modern recipe and altered it.
The Universal Cook (1806):
Things did not go well . . . it would not set. The recipe called for a baking time of one hour, to one-and-a-quarter hours. When I hit the two hour mark and the middle was still soup and the edges were starting to blacken, I knew it was doomed.
I’m still licking the wounds to my ego and trying to formulate a new plan of attack. I’m either going to go wit ha bunt pan, or with a series of small “tins” as in the Royal Cakes recipe. I’m hoping that one of these methods will fix the soupy middle problem.
I can report that the bits that did bake were tasty, though! Hopefully I’ll have better results to report in the very near future. Anyone out there have a wonderful "never fail" pound cake recipe they can point me at?