Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

My mother was a good cook. My grandmother was a good baker. They never mixed up their roles in the kitchen.

"Oh, look! She's made one for each of us."


No, I made one for now and one for the freezer.

My good friend, Barbara, is coming for a visit soon. We have plans for garden and museum visits, crafting (she's the master and I'm her disciple) and spending as little time in the kitchen as possible. Yet, I want to feed her well. With that in mind, I've been menu planning and doing a few things ahead.

I decided to make my grandmother's pound cake and, instead of baking it in one big pan, try it in two 9 inch cake pans. Fingers crossed, I pulled out the recipe for:

Nanny's Buttermilk Pound Cake

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup softened butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs at room temperature
3 cups sifted King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Stir baking soda into 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and set aside.

Cream butter, slowly add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add flour, alternating with the remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk, until all is incorporated.

Stir in the vanilla and almond flavorings.

Stir in the baking soda/buttermilk mixture.

Pour into a well-greased tube pan. (If using the tube pan, make sure it is WELL-GREASED. I've had a little trouble getting it out and am forced to eat what's left in the bottom of the pan.)

Bake for about 1 and 1/4 hours. Test with toothpick. Cool in pan 10 minutes and then until completely cool on wire rack.

This time, I baked the cake in two well-greased 9 inch cake pans for about 45 minutes.

Alas, they came right out giving me to excuse to nosh on pan "stickings".

Just before putting this cake in the oven, nanny would caution us to not slam any doors or jump around in the kitchen. Either one could cause the cake to be "sad". That meant that it would have streaks of denser crumb on the top. My sisters and I loved that denser crumb. As soon as nanny left the kitchen, we would become whirling dervishes to insure that the cake would be as "sad" as possible!!

I've been known to stomp around a bit and let the oven door close with a bang. I'll leave the "whirling dervish" thing completely up to whomever bakes the cake. However, the more you "whirl" the more calories you burn and the more cake you can eat.