A half dozen eggs and a couple sticks of butter. That’s the base of our January cake. New Year’s Resolutions be damned. Queue the Van Halen. This month we’re baking pound cake.
It took me a while to get around to making this month’s cake. After several weeks of holiday feasting with friends, family, and coworkers, the idea of baking a heavy, calorie-packed pound cake wasn’t top on my list. It’s particularly difficult since we’ve vowed to up the ante further this new year by focusing on eating even healthier than last year….but, as they say all things in moderation.
Fortunately, the opportunity presented itself to bake this cake when the temperature plummeted to negative daily highs for three consecutive days. We had played every card game and board game in the house and we were all getting a bit stir crazy. I find that baking is the perfect temporary escape from cabin fever. As I set out the ingredients and gave the recipe a quick read, the temperature was a frosty -8 below and the local weatherman was announcing on the news that the high for the following day would only reach -15 degrees with dangerous wind chills approaching -50 below. Good thing I had everything I needed on hand. Schools were closed for two days straight, and the state was in full hibernation mode. Unprecedented cold – even for us hearty Minnesotans.
I followed Carole Walter’s recipe for 18th Century Pound Cake exactly as written in her cookbook, Great Cakes. This is my third cake as a member of the Cake Slice, an online baking club. Each month we collectively select a new cake to bake from Great Cakes. Back in November, we baked Applesauce Spice Cake, and in December, we baked Streusel Squares.
So far, I haven’t stumbled upon a killer cake yet, but I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot in the past few months, which was the whole point of joining this club. In the past, my baking mantra was always “throw in all the wet ingredients…mix…throw in all the dry ingredients…mix again…bake.” While I’m still a novice, I hope to gain a better appreciation for how the end result is impacted by making sure eggs are at room temperature or butter is whipped to the proper consistency….I’m just not there yet….but I’m confident it will come given time, experience, and the nine more months of cakes in my future.
Things I Learned This Month:
1. Parchment paper rocks: The cake slid right out of the pan.
2. Why it’s called pound cake: This dense sucker literally weighed several pounds!
3. Endless serving possibilities: Sliced with whipped cream, strawberries, and a drizzle of honey or balsamic. Cubed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and warm blueberry sauce. Battered and fried French toast-style….yum.
Pick up a copy of Carole Walter’s Great Cakes if you’d like to give this, or any of the other monthly cake recipes, a try. And, check out how my fellow baking club members’ pound cakes turned out by clicking on this link:
Oh, and one more thing, if you’re resolving to eat healthier this year too (amid the irony of this cake post), here are a few tips: 6 Ways to Eat Healthier in the New Year