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Buttery Poundcakes

This old family recipe, from Susan Welch, of Brookline, comes with a surprising technique. The cakes go into a cold oven, which comes up to temperature while they sit inside.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup whole milk
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

Have on hand 4 6-by-3-by-2-inch loaf pans. Grease them lightly and dust them with flour, tapping out the excess.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, or until the batter is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With the mixer set on its lowest speed, add the vanilla, almond extract, and nutmeg. Pour in the milk slowly, then add 1 cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt.

Add the remaining flour and beat thoroughly.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans (they will be completely full) and transfer to a cold oven. Turn the heat to 350 degrees and bake the cakes for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and set them on a wire rack to cool. Turn them out of the pans and turn them right side up. Let the cakes sit until they cool completely.

Wrap the cakes individually.

Makes 4 Small Cakes

By Sheryl Julian and Julie Rosenfeld

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