Ina Garten's Favorite Ingredient Trio For Supreme Pound Cakes

When it comes to pound cake, there's Ina Garten's recipe and everyone else's. The Barefoot Contessa is a true believer in the power of three and her recipe for this classic dessert places a spotlight on how this number contributes to her take on the perfect pound cake. In her cookbook, "Go-To Dinners," Garten shares you have to sift the dry ingredients three times; you have to beat the mixture for three minutes to make it "light and fluffy; and, there is a trio of ingredients that make this pound cake supreme.  

Per Kitchn, Garten shares in her writings that Cognac, lemon zest, and vanilla all mixed together will lead you to a perfect bite of pound cake. She writes in her cookbook, "Perfecting this recipe has been like a science project for me; once I added Cognac and lemon zest to the vanilla, I found I had achieved the ideal balance of flavors." What is it about this blend that creates such a tasty cake?

Experiment with flavors

Cognac has a sweet and fruity taste that is tempered with spicy and bitter flavors. It also has undertones of vanilla which makes it a perfect addition to the floral elements of vanilla extract. Add in the citrusy aroma and flavor of lemon zest, and you have a mix that is a little reminiscent of the very ingredients used to create a traditional cocktail known as a Sidecar. In fact, if you find yourself without any lemons in the house, you could always substitute with a little orange zest which also works well with the flavors Cognac adds to this recipe. 

Kitchn also notes that if you don't have Cognac in your home bar or tucked away in a cabinet from a late night playing poker with friends, you can try another brandy like Armagnac. Be aware that brandy can differ in flavor and taste, but don't be afraid to grab a page out of Garten's playbook and turn your pound cake into a science experiment until you find a taste that equals perfection for your palate.