10.06.2013

"LCD" Vanilla Pound Cake


"Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together." - Thomas Dekker

Weeks go by and the work flow remains the same. I've been pretty busy lately, but when Friday night rolls around, all I can look forward to is sleeping in the next morning. Saturday mornings were designed for sleeping late into the day, enjoying the weekend, feeling well-rested. So then, why the hell do I NOT sleep in? It's like a curse, that when 8AM rolls around, I'm wide awake and not the least bit sleepy. The weekend goes by quickly, then Monday morning comes and I'm exhausted, drained, in need of an extra hour of sleep. Like this past Monday for example. I felt like I hadn't slept one bit the whole weekend. The normal 8 hour work day felt like 200 hours. Then, after an extremely long work week, I woke up this morning a bit before 8AM, thinking it was 10AM, ready to do laundry and clean the house. Not. Fair. One good thing though that came from my massive amounts of weekend productivity was this cake. The texture was moist, the crumb was extremely tender, and the aroma and taste of vanilla was extremely rich but not overwhelming. It was my first time trying out a Warren Brown recipe, and it was definitely worth it. Baking time took a little longer than the usual cake recipes I've made, but it's well-worth the wait.


"LCD" Vanilla Pound Cake
adapted from: CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch by Warren Brown

*makes: one 12-cup Bundt cake*

"This cake is my mom's favorite. Once I showed up to visit without anything from the bakery and she said, 'Where's the cake?' Now it's a standard part of my luggage for any trip home. I call it 'LCD' for lowest common denominator. It's the one pound cake everyone knows and loves.

While this recipe might seem like it has a lot of sugar, it's necessary to drive the right amount of air into the butter during the creaming stage. That air is critical to achieving a textural harmony between light and dense.

The concentration of flavors found here comes from three sources - real vanilla bean [paste], vanilla powder, and vanilla extract. I like this three-pronged approach because it results in a layered composition of flavors. Vanilla powder is available at most gourmet stores, but even without it this cake will still win compliments. Serve plain or as a base for any shortcake. It's an all-time favorite that must not be missed."

Ingredients:
13 1/2 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp all natural unmodified potato starch
1 1/2 tsp Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
8 oz sour cream
2 tbsp ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup brandy
1 tbsp amaretto
1 tbsp rum
1 1/2 tsp "Crush" pure vanilla bean extract
1 1/2 tsp whiskey
1/2 lb sweet unsalted butter
24 oz extra fine granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 large yolk
1 tbsp Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean paste

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Set the rack in the middle of the oven.
2) Set out the ingredients and equipment.
- Sift the flour directly into a bowl on a scale for accurate measuring.
- Measure the other dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, and whisk for 10 seconds to blend. Set aside.
- Measure the liquid ingredients into a separate bowl, whisk to combine, and set aside.
- Measure the butter and sugar into separate bowls and set aside.
- Crack the eggs and yolk into separate bowls and set aside.
3) In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on the lowest speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
4) Add the vanilla bean paste to the creaming butter and sugar.
5) With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the yolk, fully incorporating after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
6) Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly to avoid overworking the batter. Don't wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.
7) Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down. Don't miss the clumps of ingredients hiding on the bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter's structure.
8) Prepare the pan. Spray the pan well with a nonstick spray.
9) Fill the pan about three-quarters full by depositing the batter with the rubber spatula in small clumps around the prepared pan instead of by pouring it into one spot. Level the batter with the rubber spatula.
10) Bake for approximately 50 to 55 minutes.
11) Once the top of the cake doesn't jiggle in the center, test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer in the center of the cake. When the skewer shows just a touch of crumbs the cake is done. The sheen on top may look liquid, but this is normal and comes from the fat in the heavy cream. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a heat-resistant surface or wire rack.
12) Once the cake has cooled for 5 to 10 minutes remove the cake by inverting the pan onto a flat surface.
13) Serve at room temperature. Store under a cake dome at room temperature, or wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 week. To store longer, label, date, and store the plastic-wrapped cake in the freezer for up to 1 month.



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