Buttery pound cake is always welcome in my kitchen. Pound cakes don’t usually get too “dressed up” for the holidays and are served quite plain, more often than not. There are few things that I enjoy better than a great vanilla pound cake, but pound cakes actually make a fantastic canvas for many different flavors. Their dense, tight crumb will support the weight of all kinds of mix-ins, from chocolate chips to berries, and there are very few flavors out there that don’t go well with butter!
This Cranberry Pistachio Pound Cake is a fantastic cake to bake during the Christmas season. Not only is it flavorful, but you get pops of festive red and green colors in every slice from the cranberries and whole pistachios that are generously scattered throughout the cake. The cake itself has a tight, tender crumb that almost melts in your mouth. I like to use both butter and oil in my pound cakes because it ensures that the cakes will stay extremely moist – a huge plus when you’re planning to have the cake around for snacking for a few days. It is flavored with both vanilla and almond, which give the cake a nice background to set off the nuts and berries. I used fresh, whole cranberries and whole toasted pistachios because larger mix-ins mean that you get to really taste the sweet-tart cranberries and fruity pistachios when you bite into them, rather than just getting a hint of their flavor. Frozen cranberries can be susituted for the fresh cranberries if that is what you have on hand.
A classic bundt pan gives this cake a beautiful look. Be sure to grease and flour the pan before pouring your cake batter in, as the berries can sometimes stick to even nonstick pans. I finished my cake with a touch of vanilla glaze to give it a little extra sweetness, but you can simply dust it with confectioners’ sugar for an even easier finishing touch. The cake will keep well when stored in an airtight container for several days after baking.
Cranberry Pistachio Pound Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup toasted pistachios
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well-combined.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine vanilla, almond extract, milk and vegetable oil. Working in two or three additions, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture, ending with a final addition of dry ingredients. Fold in cranberries and pistachios until well-distributed. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before topping with vanilla glaze (recipe below)
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.