Overly Dense Pound Cake

A reader has asked: I often make the same pound cake recipe, but this time the resulting cake was heavy and much more dense than usual. I beat the butter until it was soft—should I have done something else?

A: I’ve found that starting with very soft butter and beating the butter and sugar for a long time make a light pound cake. If you have forgotten to take the butter out to soften, try softening it in 5-second increments in the microwave —just be sure that the butter doesn’t melt