so... I have a bit of catching up to do :)
two weeks ago, I went over to Borders and caught up on a lot of reading material... using it as a more up-to-date library with a cafe inside - what could be better??
I found some excellent books on a lot of things, but stumbled across Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor.... wow.. the pictures alone made me drool :d I accidentally altered her recipe for pound cake, but it still came out delicious! The original recipe calls for 3 sticks of butter, and I only used one. I imagine the tops of my loaves would have been more cracked and beautiful like hers if I had used 3 sticks... I would highly recommend checking this book out - great tips and amazing desserts!
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
• 1 stick of unsalted butter @ room temperature
• 8 ounces cream cheese @ room temperature
• 3 cups sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 6 large eggs
• 3 cups flour, sifted & then measured [it does make a difference... sifted flour is fluffier than flour just out of the bag, so if you don't sift, you will add more flour than the recipe calls for - which is never a good thing... I measured and sifted it into a separate bowl with a pouring spout- which makes it easier when you are ready for it in the recipe]
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• Preheat oven to 325º F. Spray two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
• Beat butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. With mixer running [in my left hand], gradually add pre-measured* sugar beating until pale and fluffy.[*kind of hard to measure and keep a hand-mixer running at the same time... if you can recruit help... AKA a roommate or husband :)... even better!] Beat in salt and vanilla.
• Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one until it is fully incorporated into the mix. This is the last step you will need your mixer for...
• Sift flour again along with baking powder into batter. I used a colander/strainer to sift my flour since I do not own a sifter. This video on YouTube shows you how to do this. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the flour and baking powder into the batter until no traces of flour remain and batter is smooth.
• Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. Bake until tops are golden and slightly cracked and when a skewer inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 60 - 75 mins.
• Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn cakes out of pans and let cool to room temperature on wire racks before serving
Cakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for one month.
I apologize for the lack of photos... but between not being able to control the focus, not being able to control exposure, using up entire batteries while taking only 40-60 photos [and not rechargeable ones, mind you]... and maybe a hint of laziness :)... I have decided to stop taking pictures of each step. For now at least.
While I was waiting for the pound cakes to bake, I realized that I had some frozen strawberries and cherries in my freezer. So I decided to make up a recipe for some fruit sauce to go with - unfortunately I didn't document it very precisely, so the following recipe is my best guess...
Cherry Strawberry sauce
• 1 Tablespoon butter
• 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
• 3/4 cup frozen cherries
• 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 Tablespoon water
• 1.5 teaspoons cornstarch
• Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add cherries and strawberries. [If you would prefer to use other berries, just make sure that you substitute using the same amount]
• Add balsamic vinegar. It sounds weird, but the vinegar really brings out the flavor of berries. Add the sugar and stir.
• Allow the mixture to come to a boil, stirring occasionally. I was hoping that the sugar alone would thicken the sauce, but it was taking it a while. So I went to my trusty friend - the Joy of Cooking - and found a recipe for a fruit sauce that added water and cornstarch at the end to thicken it.
• When your sauce has been boiling for about 3 or 4 minutes, mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until combined. Add the cornstarch mixture to your fruit sauce and stir until it starts to thicken... about one minute.
• Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place into an open container until cooled completely.
• It is almost like a jam, so I served it over the pound cake cool or at room temperature and stored it in the refrigerator when not in use.