Whisk butter, powdered sugar and vanilla, if using, in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Keep covered until ready to use.
yield: about 1/3 cup
Our Classic Butter Pound Cake is a true buttery experience. Tempting to cut short the beating times, but don't! The main leavening comes from these steps. So, for a decadently rich cake with great texture, stick with it. Then, the only thing tempting you is this perfect cake.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with a thin layer of extra butter, then lightly dust with extra flour. Remove 1 1/2 tablespoons beaten egg, and discard or save for another use. Pour remaining beaten eggs into a liquid measuring cup or pitcher; set aside.
Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer until creamy and pale, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape sides, then slowly add in the sugar; this should take about 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape sides, and continue beating on medium high 4 to 5 minutes, until fluffy and almost white. Scrape sides, and beat in salt.
Drizzle in reserved beaten eggs from the pitcher very slowly; this should take about 5 minutes. Best not to rush this step, but be sure to scrape sides. On lowest speed, add flour and stir until just mixed in.
Spread batter into prepared pan and bake about 50 to 55 minutes, or until nicely browned and toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and immediately frost top with prepared glaze (recipe follows). Cool cake completely on rack. Glaze will melt and drip down the loaf while cake is still warm, but will turn to a crunchy layer when cool. Or simply let the cake cool completely, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. It is great with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yield: 1 loaf; 12 slices