Vanilla Pound Cake

So, if you read my previous post. You know that I was excited about making the vanilla pound cake I read about on Martha Stewart’s site. And I was.

This recipe was so easy a ten year old could do it. At least, one claimed to in the comments. So, challenge accepted.

It’s actually really cool that if you want, you can try the recipe with me. Just follow the link to the recipe in my previous post, “On The Hunt“, and let’s try this thing.

If you do decide to try this out, I’m going to add in tips on things I figured out the hard way, so you don’t have to mess up like me.
You begin by creaming the butter and sugar. Yeah, I didn’t do this so well. However, my kitchen aid was all messed up. The paddle kept hitting against the bump in the bottom of the bowl (why is that bump there, anyway?) and I had to dig up the instructions booklet and figure out how to raise it. The paddle, not the bump.

It said to get a screwdriver and tighten or loosen that middle screw in the notch. That hard to reach one? Yeah. Then it said to turn it slightly. I think it was: left to raise it, right to lower it. Well, I did turn it slightly. Like, fifty times until it almost went full circle. And ten minutes or more later, I finally got the paddle to beat the butter without bumping into the bowl.

Make sure you don’t have any chunks of butter in your bowl before you move on. I guess that’s a given when they said “beat until light and fluffy” but I need someone to tell it to me straight. Because I did find a stray chunk of butter at last minute (I’ll show you in a sec) and it hurts the ego when something like that happens to you.

Next it says to add the eggs one at a time. This recipe requires four eggs. So before you even THINK about wanting to make the pound cake, check to see if you have enough eggs.

It said to add the eggs one at a time, “beating well after each addition”. I kept my kitchen aid stirring while a cracked a egg in the bowl and waited for the mix to reach the same consistency every time before adding the next egg. I was so busy over thinking this whole “beating well” thing that I forgot to take pictures, sorry. But it really just looks like yellow snot or something. . . Oh. Sorry again, that wasn’t very appetizing sounding. .

Moving on! Next comes the flour. It said to add it gradually until it was just combined and “DO NOT OVERMIX!!!!” Okay, it’s written “(do not overmix)”, like a meek little suggestion. But the exclamation points – and like – “overmix and die!” are what I see.

So I was maybe a little paranoid through this whole Vanilla Pound Cake process. But give me a break, a ten year old said how perfect hers was. Not that I was thinking about that the whole time. But it may have affected my subconscious.

Once it looked nice and mixed, I scraped the bowl with a spatula, making sure that everything was combined – or so I thought. Then dumped it into a crisco-and-flour coated loaf pan. (The recipe actually says butter, but I was naughty and used crisco).

Do you see it??! The picture isn’t that good. But if you look closely, toward the left in the middle is a pale-ish chunk. . . of butter. I don’t know how it survived, the darn thing. But it did. Unbelievable. But don’t worry, I squished the heck out of it until it agreed to commit to the rest of the loaf and not be an individual anymore. Team work is necessary.

After smoothing it out with a knife, making sure it got into all the corners of the pan, I slid it into the oven, where it stayed for fifty minutes.

After fifty minutes, I slid a knife in the center and it didn’t come out clean, so I left it in for ten more minutes, which I believe might’ve been too much.

The corners were already a threateningly dark brown. And very dark and crunchy. The loaf came away from the pan easy enough and after letting it cool I sliced it.

It actually does look like the picture, which is pretty cool, but there’s a distinct dark browning happening on the corners there. So yeah. I overcooked it a bit. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try it.

*insert big smile*

Ever since I was little we would make something called “Cafe con leche”. It’s translated to the oh so descriptive term meaning: coffee with milk. . . Cafe con leche sounds way smoother and attractively mysterious, doesn’t it?

Cafe con lecheeee . . Oolala. 

Ha, I’m done. So anyway. My Abuelita would tear up slices of just regular sandwich bread and put them in a bowl, then pour cafe con leche in there with a little sugar, cause we were kids (oh and it’s decaf instant coffee, nothing weird or anything) and it would be like a bread pudding breakfast, I guess you’d describe it. Or bread cereal. Anyway. It was good.

So nowadays. I have a more adult version of it. Which is making cafe con leche in a mug and dunking sweet breads into it. Yes, it’s way more mature.

Anyhow. All you do is fill a mug with milk and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds ’till it’s warm.

Then you add as much coffee as you like. I don’t even use a tea spoon. I’m so used to my kid version. And hey, it makes me happy, so whatever.

Then you stir and taste it to be sure it’s good. I usually add sugar, but the pound cake is pretty sweet so I skipped that.

About at this time, I whined how my milk was still cold, and my mom (a more frequent cafe con leche-er than me) said I needed to put it in the microwave for a minute.

You can imagine the necessary steps I needed to repeat.

Hot enough after thirty more seconds. I then sat down with my cafe con leche and a few slices of pound cake and had a little party at the kitchen table.

And at the end of eating one slice, I found  that. . .one slice was enough. This pound cake is no light dessert. You feel that one slice collide to the bottom of your stomach and fill you up. It was very thick.

It tasted good too, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t stop thinking that maybe if I gave it five minutes less next time, it’ll be more moist and then hit perfection.

So I wouldn’t call this a fail. More like a work in progress. Anyone else out there try this recipe?

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