March 4 is National Pound Cake Day.
Memorizing baking recipes can be a tricky thing. Baking is all about science; get one thing wrong and you could end up with a high school experiment gone wrong in your oven. Baking is also all about proportion, and every ingredient serves a purpose. Getting those proportions right will ensure a light, fluffy, perfectly balanced cake, cookie or pastry.
A pound cake is the perfect recipe for the non-scientifically inclined. Its premise is simple - a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of butter and a pound of eggs make a pound cake. That may sound like it would make a lot of cake, and it does. Pound cakes were initially intended to feed multiple families. The great thing, though, is that as long as you keep the ratio of weight the same, you can adjust a pound cake recipe to serve 5 or 500.
Once you've mastered the 1:1:1:1 thing, adding flavorings is a cinch. A little vanilla essence never hurt anyone, neither did almond or lemon extracts. You could also add nuts to your version. To prevent additions like nuts or chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom of the cake batter, dust them in a little bit of flour before adding them.
Pound cakes are typically baked in Bundt pans or loaf tins, but these days, they come in all shapes and sizes. As for icing, tradition stipulates a simple dusting of powdered sugar or a classic glaze. You could also try layering the cake with fruit preserves. The sky is the limit once you've got the proportion thing down. And remember, if somehow you forget the recipe, it's all in the name.