by David Fisco
1 January 2016
Word count: 420
Dessert | Baking

In the middle of the 18th Century, Hannah Glasse published her now-famous cookbook, The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy. The book would prove so successful it would remain in publication until 1843 with copies being owned by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Much has changed in the kitchen since Hannah Glasse manually whipped air bubbles into her cake batters. So, I decided to update her pound cake for a 21st Century audience. It uses baking powder, not included in her recipe. She flavored the cake with caraway seeds, which provides a welcomed alternative to the flavors we usually find in contemporary pound cakes.

  • .125 (one eighth) teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • .5 pound bleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • .5 pound butter, room temperature
  • .5 pound minimally-processed sugar (I use Florida Crystals.)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs whites, room temperature
  • .5 pound currants

Heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the caraway seeds into a 9.25”x5.25”x2.75” baking loaf pan and toast in the oven for eight minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Place the toasted caraway seeds in a mortar or spice grinder and grind into a powder. Set aside. Grease or spray the baking pan and set it aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the baking powder, flour, and ground caraway seeds. (Be sure to scrape all of the ground caraway seeds from the utensils you used for grinding.) Turn the mixer on at its lowest setting and allow these ingredients to mix for three minutes. Move this mixture into a holding bowl.

Put the butter and minimally-processed sugar into the mixer’s bowl. Cream on medium speed for eight minutes.

Combine the eggs and egg whites in a small bowl and beat with a fork until combined.

When the butter is creamed, stir in the flour and eggs, alternating a bit at a time. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and stir again.

When all ingredients are incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat the batter for three minutes.

Stir in the currants.

Pour the batter into the baking pan. Rap it on the counter to eliminate air bubbles. Smooth the top of the batter with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 75 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool to room temperature on the rack.