This past weekend was insane around our house, last week I was away in Orlando for work-related training, so upon arriving on Friday the amount of stuff that accumulated in the To Do list was ridiculous – laundry, cleaning, folding, dishes and on and on. I mean, Tom does his share around here, but I guess what they say it true – when the cat is away…. Apparently everything goes to the dogs! So I was very happy about this week's HCB choice, since I knew it was going to be a snap to prepare, bake and have ready for those hungry boys I live with.
This is straight easy pound cake recipe, with three perfect twist: One, they are mini cake (can you say perfect give-aways? yes you can!). Two, they are made with vanilla bean and three, soaked in a cognac base syrup. (On a side note, I'm on to Rose and her boozy syrups because in my world I trust anything that is made with liquor - it makes everything better - trust).
How can you go wrong?
This is going to down for the cake that has used less kitchen equipment so far – 2 bowls. One to mix the dry ingredients and one to mix the wet - I did not even use the KA for this one, but my old hand mixer. After mixing everything together, they were ready to fill my 2 cheap-y mini-aluminum store-bought pans (PAN ENVY ALERT!) and once I finish pouring the batter and smoothing the tops, I notice that they were pretty full to the top, ummm NOT.GOOD.
After baking this long with Rose I knew something was up, because all of her baking instructions tell you to fill the baking pan either ¾ of the way or leave ½ inch from the top and mine were pretty full way up to the top. So a quick re-reading and yep, the batter was supposed to fill two mini pans PLUS make TWO cupcakes. And let me tell you, this 2-cupcake business is starting to annoy me, because it totally throws off my baking game here, plus I don’t have a 2-cupcake pan, I have a 6 a 12 even a 24 one – so pulling the 6-cupcake pan to bake only 2? Ahh, yeah – POINTLESS! What is the deal with the additional batter? I did not want to use another baking pan so I simply dumped my extra batter down the drain. (After eating 2 spoonfuls, of course).
Into the oven they went for 35 minutes of cooking goodness heaven. The book gives you a good tip in order for the cakes to develop that nice pound cake crack on top. After putting them in the oven and giving them 15 minutes for them to settle a bit, use a sharp knife (or razor) to score the top and voila – crack on top!
I got busy folding laundry, so I did not do this step. But, the baking gods were playing nice and my baby cakes developed a nice crack all on their own.
I love when recipes cooperate fully in the process and the baking gods are being generous.
Out of the oven they came and since all that laundry folding wore me out, I made an executive decision and left them all nice and virgin-like – no boozing.
Did it made a difference in the final product?
Tom: “I like them; they are cute and very buttery and good. But, I got to say this; I like your pound cake recipe better”
Little man: “I love them! and they are cute” (He truly did, he polished off one all by himself)
I also like them. Their texture is very dense but at the same time light and Tom is right, they have a great buttery taste and the vanilla bean gives them a great taste punch. I’m sure that with the cognac syrup they would have been much, much better.
So yesterday, I compensated and ate the last piece (which I had hidden in a safe place before I left work in the morning) and served it with some of the left over Zabaglione gelato and topped it all with some of the Hot Chocolate Snowball sauce from the Ice cream cake.
Yes sireee, BOOZE makes it all better!
Since we do not publish the recipes from the Heavenly Cake book, I’m giving you my own pound cake recipe below, which is just as good – or as Tom mention a bit better – you be the judge.
Sour-Cheese-Cream Pound Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
½ cup of cream cheese, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grated zest of 2 limes (you can use lemon if you prefer)
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Coat the pan with butter and flour (or use a baking spray) a 10-inch fluted tube (Bundt) pan*, tap out the excess flour. *You can also use 2 loaf pans.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside. Beat the butter and cream cheese with the sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and zest. On low speed, add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1¼ hours.
Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before un-molding.
While we love this cake simple you can also drizzle the top with a Lemon Syrup after it has cool down for 10 minutes. If you choose to go this route here is what you will need:
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup water
Zest of 1 lemon
Bring the lemon juice, zest, water and sugar to a boil over high heat and cook until it is reduced to ½ cup, about 15 minutes. Allow syrup to cool before drizzling onto the cake.