Slices of classic pound cake are a delicious canvas for a myriad of culinary creations. From strawberry shortcakes to trifles and ice cream sundaes, they offer a fairly neutral starting point for all sorts of inspired preparations. It's an evergreen cake, suitable for any season or occasion, comprised of four staple ingredients that almost any home cook probably already has on hand. And for those moments when ease is necessary, you can likely find a version at your local grocery store too.
But you can elevate your pound cake without adding a single extra flavor or ingredient — just one of Earth's most essential elements: fire. Placing slices of your favorite pound cake, whether homemade from scratch or simply store-bought, right on a fiery grill can be an absolute game-changer.
This strategy not only gives you a nice, warm base for temperature contrast with, say, fresh berries and whipped cream, but also adds a crisp texture and intensified flavor. It's also incredibly easy to pull off; just brush your pound cake slices with a little butter, lay them on your grill or grill pan for a minute or two on both sides over medium heat, and watch the magic happen.
The Maillard Reaction In Action
The reason humans love grilled food so much is due to a chemical phenomenon known as the Maillard reaction. Whenever you see this scientific term, you can rest assured it signifies big flavor ahead. It describes the chemical reaction where, in simple terms, heat transforms sugars and proteins into something browned, fragrant, and utterly irresistible to our senses.
While we often discuss the Maillard reaction — and grilling, for that matter — in the context of meats like steaks and burgers, or seared seafood like shrimp or salmon, it's a process you'll start to recognize in many beloved foods. In baking, it manifests in everything from flaky golden croissants to chewy pizza crust.
The pound cake is especially ideal for grilling because its denser structure (as opposed to a fluffier birthday-cake style treat) makes it sturdy enough to withstand the fire. The areas that meet the heat develop delicious (and visually appealing) grill marks, and you won't have to worry about it falling through the cracks like a standard cake might.
Ways To Enjoy Your Grilled Pound Cake
Given the neutrality of pound cake, you can really venture in many directions once you remove it from the grill. The simplest option is to do absolutely nothing at all, or to simply serve it with a little more butter or a drizzle of honey, and enjoy the flavor you've developed in the flame.
That said, you now have a new ingredient that can elevate many of your favorite desserts. Instead of straight-up strawberries and cream, try pairing your grilled pound cake with balsamic strawberries, and see how the crispy charred bits beautifully complement the complexity of the vinegar and the natural sweetness of the strawberries. Or, for a fun handheld version of the classic, use skewers to thread cubes of pound cake with slices or chunks of your favorite fruit (such as strawberries, pineapple, and peaches), and grill them into pound cake kebabs. Any way you choose to serve it, you can't go wrong with a dollop of fresh vanilla whipped cream on top or on the side.
So, the next time you fire up the grill, don't limit yourself to savory dishes. Elevate your already beloved pound cake to incredibly delicious new heights with this easy twist.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.