Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BAKING DAY ~ Mini Lemon Poppyseed Poundcakes

I find myself baking a lot as the holiday season begins. A plate of baking is always welcomed when guests pop in for tea. And, a box of home-made treats are always a nice thank you or hostess gift. Either way, there always seems to be some way to share some confectionery bliss.

I recently found a recipe in a Martha Stewart magazine for Classic Pound Cake. Generally, I don't think of pound cake as being the most desirable of all cakes... I mean it's not in the same category as fruitcake, but it would pale in comparison to a fudgey chocolate cake any day!

The fact that this recipe was so versatile was what caught my attention. The basic recipe could be made into a number of different varieties of pound cake with the adjustment or addition of only one or two ingredients: spiced chocolate, marble, cherry preserve, poppy seed or even vanilla bean, all being equally appealing.

I decided to make the basic recipe and settled on adding some poppy seeds and fresh lemon zest (my own twist).

Here is the recipe:

3 1/4 cups of flour (1 lb)
1 tbsp coarse salt
4 sticks of butter softened (1 lb)
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp real vanilla extract
9 eggs

It is important to measure the flour exactly and if possible, weigh it for accuracy.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Because I only wanted to try a small batch, I halved the recipe and used only 4 large eggs. This didn't seem to hinder any results. The recipe originally makes 2 - 5 x 9" loaf pans but halved, it was 8 mini loaves.

Lay out all ingredients. Measure flour and salt. Ssift into a small bowl and set aside. Next, cream butter and sugar on med-high in a stand mixer for about 8 minutes. While creaming butter, grease tins and set aside. Once light and fluffy, reduce speed to low and add vanilla. Next, lightly beat each egg and add, one at a time. Once mixed, add flour mixture in 4 additions, reserving last and mixing by hand, just until incorporated.

For the lemon poppy seed variation, mix in 1/2 cup of poppy seeds and the zest of one lemon before incorporating last flour addition.

Divide equally into loaf pans and smooth tops. Bake for 65 minutes (30 for mini loaves) or until pick comes out clean.

Cool, remove from pans and then continue to cool completely on wire racks.

Creaming the butter and sugar well enough is an important contributor to having a proper pound cake texture. Make sure that butter and sugar are completely pale (whitish in colour) and fluffy (or super whipped looking).

For an extra kick, mix a few heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar with the juice of about half a lemon and drizzle over top. It's a tart but slightly sweet glaze that really enhances the citrus flavours of the cake.

The make pretty little gifts when wrapped in parchment and tied with pretty ribbon or twine. For a summer variation, try tossing chunks of this pound cake with lemoncello and adding fresh berries and whipped cream.

1 comment:

  1. Fresh berries and whip cream would make this delicious


Thanks for leaving your comments! I always love reading them. - Maria