Readers keep sending us pictures of pound cakes that weigh less than one pound, complaining that they’re exhibits of the Grocery Shrink Ray in action. There’s a problem with that, though: it’s based on the incorrect assumption that a pound cake is supposed to weigh a pound.
Here, for example, are two examples of pound cakes weighing less than a pound sent to us by vigilant readers.
A “pound cake” is actually a cake that consists of equal parts flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. The original pound cake had a pound of each, making it a very large cake.
Really, though, a pound cake can weigh anything as long as the ingredients are in proportion.
The real question is whether a shelf-stable pound cake from a commercial bakery is a true “pound cake.” Here, for example, are the ingredients of a mini pound cake from Entenmann’s:
Sugar, Wheat Flour Bleached, Egg(s), Water, Butter, Soybean(s) Oil, Corn Starch Modified, Whey (Milk) , Glycerine, Dextrose, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate) , Mono and Diglycerides, Glyceryl Lacto Esters of Fatty Acids, Flavor(s) Artificial, Salt, Sorbitan Monostearate, Soy Lecithin, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Propionate) , Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Polysorbate 60, Caramel Color
No, I don’t think those ingredients are in equal proportion.