Pound Cake

Eating Well was not the source for the pound cake recipe, but it’s one of my favorite foodie magazines and it seemed like a perfect placemat for enjoying a piece of cake with ice cream.  I’m sure there are literally hundreds of pound cake recipes on the internet and in cookbooks.  Some call for sour cream, fruit juice and zest, extracts, even a shot or two of rum.  The one I made today is one of the very basic of recipes that consists of a pound of this, a pound of that.  According to the internets, pound cake apparently dates back to the early 18th century and originated in Europe.  A pound cake recipe was published in the first American cookbook, “American Cookery”, published in 1796.  In France the pound cake is called “quatre-quarts” which means four quarters.  In Mexico it’s called “panque’” with the most common variant being the addition of raisins or walnuts.  This recipe makes two loaf pans, two pounds each.  It’s a lot of cake, but it’s the perfect vehicle for berries and whipped cream or a scoop or two of ice cream.  It’s also a very simple cake to make and most of us have all of the ingredients on hand.

Ingredients:

1 pound of sugar (approximately 2 1/4 cups)

1 pound of butter (4 sticks at room temperature)

1 pound of flour (approximately 4 cups)

1 doz eggs

Preheat your oven to 325.  Grease two loaf pans and line with parchment paper.

Cream together the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until they are light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  With the mixer running, slowly add the flour and mix just until incorporated.

Divide the batter, as evenly as possible, into the two prepared loaf pans.

Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 60-70 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Loosen edges, remove cakes from the pans, peel off parchment, and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar or drizzle with a glaze.  I whisked together 2 cups of powdered sugar and 3-4 T of fresh squeezed lemon juice.  A little sweet, a little tart.

Slice and enjoy.

NOTE:  This cake freezes well.  I froze individual slices in zip lock bags.  While this time I did not add any flavorings, this recipe is excellent with some vanilla paste, or a little rum, or juiced citrus and zest.  Toasted nuts, raisins, dried cherries, or chocolate chips would also make great additions.  It’s pretty much a blank slate.

 

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Topping

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I am not sure where this recipe came from but I’ve been making it for years. It’s always moist and tasty and the fact that it contains oatmeal gives some of us the delusion that we are eating “health food.”  We had friends spending the weekend with us and I chose this for our Friday night dessert.

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 1/4 cups boiling water

1/2 cup butter flavor crisco

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

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Preheat oven to 350.

Combine oatmeal and boiling water and let it stand for 20 minutes.

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In a mixing bowl combine shortening, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Cream together until fluffy.

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Beat in the oatmeal.

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Measure out your dry ingredients and whisk them together. Gradually add them to the creamed mixture and beat on medium speed until everything is incorporated. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. While the cake is in the oven prepare the topping.

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts if you prefer)

1/3 cup butter

1 cup coconut

1/4 cup half and half

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Rough chop the nuts.

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Mix all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil stirring frequently. Allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes.

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As soon as the cake comes out of the oven spread the topping over the hot cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.

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Serve as is or with a little dollop of whipped cream. Oatmeal cake with coconut and pecans. It’s what was for dessert.

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NOTE:  I really do measure my ingredients out in advance into prep bowls. That way I can put my containers away right after measuring out the ingredients keeping my kitchen neater and I am less likely to forget to add essential ingredients.  Also, it’s important to whisk your dry ingredients together before adding them to ensure even distribution of things like salt and leavening.