Sunday, September 13, 2009

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake


For dessert for my end of summer dinner last week, I wanted to do something fun with pound cake. I thought it would be really yummy to throw it on the grill with some peach slices, and then top with vanilla ice cream. And it was yummy! But first, I had to make the pound cake.

I turned to Ina Garten, who used inspiration from Cook's Illustrated; so of course I was convinced that this must be the best pound cake ever! The "secret ingredient" is lemon zest, and while I appreciated the lemony flavor, it definitely overpowered the honey and vanilla. So much so that I think it would be better described as "Lemon Pound cake." I think next time I make it I would decrease the lemon zest to 1/2 teaspoon.

And one final note: The recipe calls for an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Well I had both a 10 x 5 and an 8 x 4, and I stupidly opted for the 8x4. And of course my cake overflowed on the cookie sheet. Thank goodness at least had baked it on a cookie sheet; I would have had a huge mess to clean in the oven otherwise! So while my cake didn't turn out with a beautiful domed top, it was still plenty tasty!

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake
adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temp (allow to sit for 1 hour)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

Fit an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light. meanwhile, add the eggs, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup; but do not mix to combine.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture one egg at at time, scraping down the bowl between each egg, and allowing each egg to become completely incorporated before addng the next.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add slowly, with the mixer on low speed, until just combined. Do not overmix.

Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, and bake on a cookie sheet, for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes, and turn our onto a cooling rack to cool completely


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