Thursday, August 5, 2010
Pound cake is one of those items that I can't believe people pay $8 for a gourmet boxed mix. (My "I can't believe you paid for that" list also includes beer bread, vinaigrette, and brownies.) This recipe probably cost that much for all the ingredients combined, and is homemade. It also makes much more cake than the boxed mix. This makes enough to fill a large bundt pan--or 5-6 mini loaf pans. Once you see how easy it is to make, you'll never go back to the just-add-water powdered mixes.
And again, don't forget to scrape your bowl!
The first one is is almond extract. A little of this will go a long way, so be sure to measure carefully.
The last ingredient is good vanilla. This picture is of some homemade vanilla I made. It's just alcohol and scraped vanilla pods. I combined them and left them alone in a dark place for a few months. Those little specks are the vanilla caviar.
The alcohol I used is a mix of half vodka and half Jeremiah Weed. It was supposed to be all vodka--but then I ran out of vodka. But really any alcohol you want to use will be fine, as long as it's at least 35% alcohol. I'd maybe steer away from tequila, though ... that's just trouble. ;)
You could use regular vanilla extract too. (Not imitation, please! That stuff smells like Play-Doh. If your extract contains vanillin, that means it's artificial. You want the real stuff. Trust me.)
When you buy vanilla--or really, anything--you want the one with the smallest amount of ingredients. All you want in a vanilla extract is vanilla, alcohol, and water. Sometimes they add sugar. Nielsson-Massey is one of my favorite vanilla companies to buy from. Wait until I post a recipe with their vanilla paste in it. Ooh, heavenly.
If I'm taking the cake somewhere, I like to use my fancy bundt pan. You could also use cake rounds and frost it, like you would a normal cake. This would be beautiful as a strawberry or blueberry shortcake, with berries in the middle and frosted with whipped cream.
The top looks pretty lumpy here. But we'll fix that in a sec.
The cakes get a nice, crisp crust, while the inside is creamy and rich.
My favorite thing to do with this pound cake is eat it with jam. I heat up my favorite jam or jelly (raspberry is devine!) so it melts, and then pour it over a piece of cake. The tartness of the raspberries goes well with the creamy sweetness of the cake. Plus, you can pretend that jam counts as a fruit and trick yourself into thinking you're eating a healthy snack ;)
Recipe: Pound Cake
2 sticks (16 tbsp.) butter, room temperature
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream, room temperature
3 c. sugar
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
Cream butter, sour cream, and cream cheese together for at least 5 minutes.
While mixer is running, add sugar in one cup at a time, beating for another 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour, one cup at a time. Also toss in the baking powder.
Pour into well-greased baking mechanism of your choice (bundt, cake round, muffin, loaf, mini loaf, etc.) Bake with cookie sheet underneath.
Bake at 325 for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes (bake time will depend on what shape your cake is baked in.) When nearing the end of baking, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is done. If there is cake stuck to it, it needs more time.
If you're baking in mini loaf pans or muffin tins, be sure to check the cakes in various parts of your oven. The cakes in the back might be done, but the cakes near the front might need a couple more minutes.
Cool completely and then dig in!