March 4 – Pound Cake Day
The pound cake has been around for centuries, and the recipe is as simple as its name. The simplest form of pound cake is just that: equal, 1-pound measurements of each ingredient–flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. It’s not that difficult to mess that up 😉 Of course, the recipes for pound cake have evolved over the years (especially considering a full-on pound cake would make a gigantic loaf!) to incorporate some interesting and very complementary flavors. You can find some of the most inventive and delicious pound cakes right here in the restaurants and bakeries of New York City. 🙂
Although their popular bakery storefront is now long gone, Bouley restaurant in TriBeCa still bakes their signature lemon pound cake, making it moist and flavorful, and offering it as part of their dessert menu. Even better, patrons at the French establishment who have shelled out the cash for a full dinner (since entrees do not come cheap at Bouley!) get a full loaf of freshly-baked pound cake to take home, completely complimentary. It means that everyone leaving Bouley leaves on quite a sweet note, and gets to take some of what makes the restaurant special and popular home with them. And even better, it’s free! (Free food will always get top billing on my blogs!)
163 Duane St
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“However, since we were here for the lunch tasting, I totally didn’t expect to be given a patisserie pound cake to be taken home (as would be the case for a dinner tasting). Pleasantly surprised.”–Laur T.
“The chef sent over complementary dessert- paper thin pineapple slices with crystallized cilatro- was also wonderful. Also left with a complimentary lemon pound cake from the chef’s bakery.”–Freen A.
While lemon pound cakes are pretty typical in terms of pound cake variations, Shakoor’s Sweet Tooth in Bed Stuy (not “Cobble Hill,” not “South Williamsburg,” legit Bed Stuy!) makes something interesting that’s caught the attention of the whole neighborhood. A former drug convict, Shakoor Watson and his wife built their baking company from the ground up, making their cakes and confections out of their kitchen, but in the past decade the business has been booming, thanks to Shakoor’s inventive ways of highlighting sweet potatoes. Tons of people rave about the sweet potato cheesecake (which sounds divine!), but his unsung hero is the sweet potato pound cake. Shakoor’s only makes catering-size portions, so if you have 20-24 of your closest friends at hand, definitely pick one up! It’s so popular that you can even buy the mix online, through RealMenCook.com–and if they keep cooking like Shakoor, boy, do they ever! Take a trip away from the grids of Manhattan and the hipster-clogged streets of Willismaburg to check out this hometown, comfort food gem.
Shakoor’s Sweet Tooth
376 Marcus Garvey Blvd (between Jefferson Ave & Hancock St), Bedford-Stuyvesant
“Sweet potato pound cake, the latest creation of Shakoor Watson, proprietor of Shakoor’s Sweet Tooth, is rich, dense and fine. The hefty cakes – they weigh more than 5 pounds and are 10 inches in diameter – serve 20 to 24 people. It’s an all-butter cake that is a lush variation on the original sweet potato pie recipe, passed down from Watson’s mother.”–Daily News
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The cheese cake is very good but the sweet potato pound cake is my favorite. It’s moist with a perfect crumble, a delicious flavor difficult to place if you haven’t had sweet potato desserts before and has ,a lovely mace or nutmeg top note. Oh and the icing on his cakes is amazing just the right consistency, never too much or too little.”–Taqah V.
“The Sweet Potato Dream Cake is sinfully decadent. Love it. Haven’t been in a couple of years, but I see on their site that they now have Sweet Potato Cheesecake. That sounds marvelous.”–Rahsaan C.
Have a special place, maybe tucked out of the way, where you’ve found the best pound cake in the city? Let us know about it in the comments!