A few days ago, Tim and I rearranged our work hours to go to the pumpkin patch in the middle of the day. We never found the pumpkin patch. Instead, where the map said the patch should be, we found a sweet little house and a lot of open land and, well, this:
Sometimes I forget how close you live to the country when you live in Nashville. The entire time we drove those sunny back roads, we never saw another human being. We saw the friendly guys above, some horses, a dog I thought was a llama and a large parcel of land with a big “for sale” sign, but there were no signs marked “pumpkins,” no arrows directing us a different way, so we drove the winding trail back to town, just us and the animals and the blue sky.
Back in town—Watertown, that is, population 1500—We found an antique store where the shopkeeper not only welcomed us in, but also told us about her daughter, talked about Maine, invited us back (“Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days”) and recommended another shop to check out. “Just before that old brick building, you see it? The open sign?” We visited a roadside stand with mums as big as toddlers, two of which now grace our front porch. We passed a high school marching band, practicing off Main Street. Then, I listened to Tim tell me about growing up in a small Ohio town where he and his brother would ride their bikes to the grocery store for their mom and where, when a person wanted Chinese food, he’d have only one place to pick.
So we didn’t come home with a pumpkin, but we did come home refreshed, which was essentially the point of the midday errand. Also, as everybody knows, you don’t have to visit a pumpkin patch to find pumpkin. And that brings me to today’s pound cake.
I like the idea of pound cake. It’s a name that sounds like what it means! According to What’s Cooking America, pound cake became popular in an era when many people couldn’t read and so being able to say “Use a pound of everything!” made a lot more sense than telling someone to memorize a series of steps you couldn’t write down.
The concept got me wondering about using flours besides all-purpose in a pound cake. Would einkorn still maintain the same proportions true to pound cake, provided I weighed it to measure rather than scooping out cups?
I am pleased to report it did. What’s more, incorporating a little fall flavor into the basic formula only took things up a notch. Below, a recipe for a true (half-)pound cake, based on a method that’s been used since the days when all towns were small towns and all cakes were baked at home.
Harvest Einkorn Pound Cake
Makes one cake
Traditional pound cakes don’t require baking powder or baking soda because they are leavened instead through eggs and air. Just eggs and air! Because of this, the initial mixing (creaming butter and sugar, then adding eggs one at a time) is important. While you’re creaming the butter with the sugar, you’re actually whipping air into the mixture, just as you keep doing with the eggs. Essentially, the more air bubbles, the lighter the cake’s crumb. If this seems overwhelming to you, don’t sweat it—Just follow the directions below, and you’ll be fine.
Note: Double this recipe to full pounds to make two pound cakes, each the size of a loaf pan. While weights are crucial here, I’ve also provided standard American measurements, should you prefer them.
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (1/2 pound) coconut sugar
4 eggs (1/2 pound)
Scant 2 cups (1/2 pound) einkorn flour
1/2 cup (1/4 pound or 4 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Butter a loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, the einkorn flour, the pumpkin puree, the salt, the cinnamon and the vanilla, blending after each addition. (Alternate: mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another, then alternately add these mixtures to the creamed butter/sugar. I was going for easy here, so I dumped everything together.) Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for an hour to an hour and a half, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.