A pound cake
Image credit: Foodista [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Pound cake, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is the world’s simplest cake recipe: you simply mix a pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs, pour it in a loaf pan, and bake. To be sure, a lot of people in North America are unaccustomed to weighing dry ingredients like flour and sugar, but everyone should have a decent kitchen scale. Regardless, eggs are kind of a weird ingredient to specify by weight, because their weight depends on their size (it’ll take about 6–8 eggs to make a pound). Of course, it doesn’t really matter if you use a pound of each ingredient; the point is to use equal amounts by weight. (Hence the French term for pound cake, quatre-quarts, or “four quarters.”) Although that recipe will get you a serviceable cake, it’s not a very interesting cake, so pound cakes often have added flavors, toppings, and whatnot. But if you want the closest thing you can find to a foolproof cake recipe, today’s the day to try your hand at a pound cake.