A pop of color usually makes baked goods stand out, whether you’re talking about berry-filled sandwich cookies or sprinkles on top of a cake. At Starbucks, they have a Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake in the case that always catches my eye, since it has a bright red ribbon running through it. It’s a tasty cake, but I knew that it was one I could easily make at home – and now that I have, this just might be one of my favorite pound cakes, especially for springtime snacking, when colorful treats always seem to be in style.
The pound cake is a vanilla buttermilk pound cake, with a very moist, tight crumb and that classic pound cake tenderness. To get the raspberry swirl, I added raspberry preserves to a small amount of the pound cake batter and swirled it in to the rest of the cake before baking. I added the preserves to the batter because the preserves on their own would be quite wet, and could sink to the bottom of the cake. The combination of cake batter and preserves was light enough to stay more-or-less in place during baking. This technique also gave me the look that I wanted in the finished cake, since I wanted to produce a ribbon of color and not simply add whole berries (though that would also be delicious). You get butter, vanilla and berries in every bite of the cake. It’s sweet, but not overly sweet, and it is rich enough that a small slice can be very satisfying.
I wanted this pound cake to have a very high rise and look as impressive as the pound cakes that you might see at a local bakery (or, in this case, Starbucks). To achieve this, I used a slightly smaller loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inches) than I normally would. The cake will turn out just fine if you use a standard loaf pan (9 x 5-inches) and it will still be impressive, but it will have even more of a “wow” look with the slightly smaller pan. The slightly smaller pan may need an extra 5 minutes or so in the oven to ensure it is completely baked.
The cake is dense and has a very long baking time, so don’t worry if it seems like it is spending a lot of time in the oven! The long baking time will result in a cake with a tight, tender crumb and a beautiful “crust” on top that adds a little texture to the moist cake beneath it. If you feel that your cake is getting a little too brown on top, which is possible if your oven has hot spots in it, you can cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. Be sure to check the pound cake with a toothpick before pulling it out of the oven because if it is not baked long enough, you’ll end up with a few underbaked spots near the top of the cake.
Leftover pound cake should be stored in an airtight container once it is completely cooled. For longer term storage, the cake should be sliced and frozen. It tastes delicious even when it is cold, and you can always warm a piece up by toasting it, too.
Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
1 drop red food coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 – inch loaf pan or a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until they are completely incorporated. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk, vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in the remaining half of the flour mixture and mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Transfer 1/2 cup of cake batter back into the medium bowl. Add in raspberry preserves and one drop of food coloring (optional, for a slightly more vivid color) and mix well.
Pour 2/3 of the plain pound cake batter into your prepared pan. Pour in raspberry batter and swirl it through with a knife. Top with remaining pound cake batter. Give the cake one additional run-through with the knife.
Bake for 90-100 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.