24 July 2008

The Good Kind of Yellow Cake

I have another confession to make, and it's not about weapons of mass destruction. This time, it's about pound cake.

This post was supposed to go up tomorrow, when I should have first cut into it and shared a slice with an old friend who is arriving then. I made it on the spur of the moment today, so I could have one of her very favorite food treats waiting for our breakfast Friday morning; then I would blab on endlessly here about how lovely it is to surprise people with beloved meals, and how little else is better than making breakfast and a welcoming cup of tea for friends.

But as I set it out on the counter to cool and the morning wore on, I. Just. Couldn't. Wait.

I cut it, put a bite in my mouth, and Gott in Himmel, tears are coming to my eyes. Screw satisfying your friends' deepest culinary desires and connecting with humanity. (And she's traveling today anyway, so she won't even see this.)

Look, I'd smash that $50 bottle of Champagne and crawl over the glass shards on my hands and knees if required to get to this rich, velvety, golden cake. Matcha brownies, darlings, you're fabulous, but there's a new love in my kitchen, one I would happily kill for.

Please, if you have ever cared for your own well being, just make this cake. I got the original recipe from Saveur- the most gorgeous, well-tested food publication out there- and I didn't change a thing. Why mess with perfection?

Classic Pound Cake

3 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the pan at room temperature
2 tablespoons plus 3 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature

1. Heat oven to 325°. Generously grease a 10-inch tube pan with a small amount of butter. Add 2 tablespoons flour; turn the pan to coat it evenly with flour, tap out any excess, and set aside. (The inside of the pan should be smoothly and evenly coated with butter and flour, with no clumps or gaps.)

2. Using a sieve set over a bowl, sift together remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Repeat two more times. In a measuring vessel with a pourable spout, combine milk and the almond, lemon and vanilla extracts.

3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter at medium-low speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and beat until satiny smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

4. Add one egg at a time to the butter mixture, beating for 15 seconds before adding another, and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour and milk mixtures in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down sides of the bowl; beat just until the batter is smooth and silky but no more.

5. Scrape batter into prepared pan and firmly tap on counter to allow batter to settle evenly. Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out moist but clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rack; let cool completely before slicing.

There is no need for any frosting or adornment, just a cup of delicate Uji Gyokoro- the tea's natural creaminess renders it a soulmate to all that butter in the cake.

And don't feel too guilty- there should be left over for breakfast and more tea tomorrow morning.


avra romanowitz said...

you were just testing it. like quality control. in my book, no harm, no foul. oh, and by the way, if you ever need another "tester," just let me know...

Anonymous said...

I would like to assure you, I am a professional cake tester. Please feel free to hire me for this and any future cake or dessert-related endeavor.

Yours truly,

Dave's Blog said...

I wish some awesome TeaBabe would make a Yellow Cake like the one pictured and bring to Coho for Sunday? ;)

tigerfish said...

The plate is empty?!?! Nothing left for me?!? :p

Helene said...

Perfection indeed. Somehow I want to soak it with a little tea syrup :)

Mrs.French said...

I really want a piece...I am sure your friend doesn't mind.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

looking goooooood...I'll be over in ten minutes...

Michele said...

that's a beautiful pound cake...sometimes the classics are the best.

Anonymous said...

Oooooohhhhhhh . . . I know what I'm baking this afternoon. I'd rather eat lemon pound cake than anything else in the world.

Anonymous said...

there's no such thing as a bad yellow cake, dear sister. if no one else caught your little innuendo, i did. ;)