March 31, 2004

food, it does a body good

If there’s one thing I like to do, it’s cook. (Well… and knit. And blog.) Last n ight we had our little Mediterranean feast (enough food to feed us for the next couple days) and this morning I made Espresso Pound Cake from the William-Sonoma Cake book. The cake is still in the oven, but based on my multiple tastings of the batter… heavenly.

Want to try it? Here’s the recipe:

<b>Espresso Pound Cake</b>

1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
1 tbs finely ground dark-roast coffee beans
1 lemon
2/3 c unsalted butter, room temp
1 c sugar
2 large eggs, room temp, slightly beaten
1/3 c buttermilk, room temp

Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl. Stir in the ground coffee. Using the finest rasps of a handheld grater, grate the zest from the lemon into the bowl. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter with the paddle on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the eggs, beating each addition until incorporated before continuing. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan anad smooth the top. Bake until the cake is browned and puffed, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 mintutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Run a table knife around the edge of the pan and turn the cake out onto a serving plate. Place the cake right side up.

There’s something I learned in the little sidenotes of this book that has made a world of difference so far: Always use eggs that are room temperature, not cold straight out of the fridge. (I let mine sit in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes because I’d forgotten to take them out of the fridge in time.) Apparently cold eggs make the batter separate and make cakes more dense (though sometimes that’s what you want!) I did what they suggested, using room temp eggs, and then instead of adding them right to the batter, I cracked them into a separate bowl, beat them lightly with a fork and then drizzled them in one at a time (mixing thoroughly after adding each one).

I cook a lot, and I’ve made a LOT of cake-y things and I can honestly say this batter was the creamiest and smoothest EVER.

Oh, and don’t worry about that “use a stand mixer” stuff if you don’t have one. I NEVER use electric mixers or anything, I always do everything by hand.

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